Rabbi Hannah and Cecil Hershler were interviewed on Don Shafer’s Impact Radio Program about Or Shalom’s Nekudot Tovot Selichot Service.
Click on the Roundhouse Radio picture below to hear the interview.
From the Jewish Independent:
Nekudot Tovot: Particles of Redemption
September 16 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Recognizing there is at least a little good in all of us can lead to a glimpse of our highest selves. That’s the central theme of an erev Selichot evening of storytelling, dance and music at Or Shalom Synagogue on Sept. 16.
After last year’s successful presentation, Or Shalom Rabbi Hannah Dresner is once again collaborating with storyteller Cecil Hershler and choreographer Astrid Sherman with the Pro-Arte’s CatchingART dancers, and also featuring Israeli guitarist Itamar Erez.
The program, called Nikudot Tovot: Particles of Redemption, is inspired by a teaching of the Chassidic master Reb Nachman of Bratzlav, who lived from 1772 to 1810.
“Cecil, his son Laen and I sat down and studied a tractate from Reb Nachman’s teachings as recorded in Liqqutei MoHaRan, the book that compiles the rebbe’s oral teachings, his homilies, over the years of his rabbinate,” said Dresner. “The particular teaching (1:282) we have focused on is about the efficacy of identifying particles of goodness in a person as the vehicle to lift one’s self or another to teshuvah (return).”
Reb Nachman says: “Keep digging, I tell you, keep digging, because somewhere inside … there is, indeed, a little bit of good. That’s all you need to find: just the smallest good, a dot of goodness. That should be enough to give you back your life, to bring you back to joy.”
Dresner said that, often, in the advent of the High Holidays, we hear that we must confront our sins, admit them, resolve them and ask forgiveness so that we can rise again to better versions of ourselves in the new year.
“But Reb Nachman’s approach is far more compassionate and, perhaps, more effective – suggesting that the route to goodness is not admission of guilt but rather acknowledgment of a goodness that really does reside in us, even one drop (one nekudah) of goodness that we can own, be proud of and see ourselves as embodying. Once we see this nekudah tova and stand within it, we will begin to see other points of redemption, lifting ourselves to that level of integrity and virtuousness. It is a method, he says, that is easier to apply in looking at another person than at ourselves, for we scrutinize ourselves most harshly of all.”
Dresner will sing two Chassidic melodies upon which Erez will improvise. After a presentation of the teaching, community member Dave Kauffman will segue into Kol Nidre on clarinet.
“We will sing together the Thirteen Attributes of God from the High Holiday liturgy, and then greet one another with shanah tovah over apples and honey and potluck savouries and sweets,” said Dresner.