New Paths Service – “Rainbow Day”

by Marian Schwartz
The Rainbow Covenant with all life is the first covenant of the Torah. Remember the Rainbow Covenant on Shabbat Noach, Shabbat Behar and Rainbow Day , the day the rainbow covenant was made, which comes the week after Shabbat Behar (this year on May 7- 8, 2013).
When Noah, his family , and the animals went out from the ark, on the 27th day of the month of Iyar, God made a covenant with all the animals and the people not to ever again cause a flood to destroy life on Earth. On that day in ancient times God created the first rainbow as the symbol of this covenant. For us in modern times, Rainbow Day can symbolize a chance to commit ourselves to turn from actions that destroy the earth, to turn our lives away from unraveling the Earth’s climate and the web of life, to turn from diminishing the Earth’s abundance.
Rainbow Day is a time to celebrate the diversity of life on Earth, and to remember our role in God’s covenant with all Creation. It is a chance to reflect on the deep spiritual and religious meaning of diversity, creation, and our role as part of creation and partners with God. The Torah teaches that God has promised never to flood the Earth again. But that doesn’t mean humanity can’t harm life. We live in a time when many species have gone extinct or are threatened with extinction. Our civilization is using so much of the world’s land and resources that we don’t always leave room for the other creatures. And the climate is changing. The story of Noah and the Flood teaches us that we have a responsibility to care for all creation and all creatures living now and in times to come, and that caring for all species is a mark of righteousness.
Blessing on seeing a rainbow:
Blessed be You, Adonai our God, who remembers the covenant.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha`olam zokher et habrit.
Birkat Ha-ilanot : On seeing 2 flowering fruit trees during Nisan/Iyar, bless the rainbow colors of spring’s flowers: “Blessed be You, Adonai our God, ruler of space and time, for God left nothing lacking in God’s world, and created in it good creatures and good trees, giving pleasure through them to the children of Adam & Eve.”
For more information on Rainbow Day:
About New Paths Morning Services:

The New Paths Service at Vassar Temple provides an opportunity for Sabbath morning worship in a relaxed environment. This approach to worship encourages interactive participation in prayer and the reading of Torah, as we discuss and interpret the traditional in relation to our contemporary world of experience.

New Paths Services are usually held on the first and third Saturday mornings of the month in the intimacy of our sunlit East Chapel at 10:00 a.m., followed by a simple kiddush. Many who have attended have found a rich variety of new paths toward spiritual growth and understanding.

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