An Invitation...

Purim High Council Prayer and Meditation Happening

…to Women Far and Wide
to Participate in a Ground-Breaking, Soul-Awakening Event:
The 30th Annual “Purim High Council Prayer and Meditation Happening for Women”
(that, for the first time, will be available to the world, via Zoom)

It is likely that there will still be some degree of lockdown when Purim comes round. The anticipated zoom nature of this Purim has inspired us to go public and share our Purim High Council Prayer Ceremony with the international community by:

  1. Inviting women from around the world to join the actual Jerusalem-based event via zoom (enabled by Shifra Hendrie who has offered her expanded zoom link for the occasion). And…
  2. Sharing the nusach/script of the ceremony so you can prepare for the event and, if you are unable to join our Jerusalem ceremony, you can create your own High Council, either on your own or with friends.

Given that this is the first year we’ve released the script of the High Council out to the world, and given that our Purim gatherings are likely to be (at least somewhat) limited by requirements of social distancing, we thought (and hoped) that folks would join us (via zoom) in our Yerushalmi enactment, as a kind of initiatory experience.

Thereafter, when Purim returns to full tilt, you can all do your own High Councils at whatever time and place and company suits you.

The problem is that we, in Jerusalem, observe Purim on a different day than everyone else. Jerusalem Purim (aka Shushan Purim) is one day later than the rest of the world. And this Purim (2021) is a special, rare meshulash (tripartite) Purim, where the mitzvot are distributed over three days, and the Shushan Purim seuda is on Sunday (whereas everyone else’s Purim seuda is on Friday (erev Shabbat).

Nevertheless, it is a custom among Chassidic communities outside Israel to acknowledge Shushan Purim as a special day, and so it would be fitting for folks around the world, even though it’s not technically Purim there, to join our Jerusalem Zoom High Council and participate fully.  It is simply a Prayer-Meditation Ceremony that could (theoretically) be performed any day, its just that Purim (ie Esther’s day) is the most propitious time for its enactment.

The High Council lasts for 1.5 hours. Our plan, to start the High Council on Sunday, Feb 28, 2021 (before three stars) at:
6:00 PM Jerusalem  |  11:00 AM EST  |  8:00 AM PST  |  4:00 PM UK   |  3:00 AM Australia

Click Button Above to join the email list and receive the High Council nusach/script and the Zoom Invite for the Purim High Council event. This list is only for High Council matters.  You will not be barraged with extraneous emails.

Men are welcome to join the list and download the nusach, but we ask that only women join the actual event.


History of the High Council

This High Council Women’s Prayer & Meditation Happening on Purim has evolved over a period of about 30 years. It has gone through countless changes and paradigm shifts. The only thing that remains from its early years is the intention behind it: The goal of harnessing the powerful lights available on Purim, that were unlocked by Esther (a woman), and to direct them toward good, healing and mashiach now.

The people that have been advisors, actors and enactors over the years are too numerous to mention. For the past (about) five years the format has stabilized and a group formed that is dedicated to empowering the Purim ritual by rehearsing its practices throughout the year. Our goal is to deepen our connection to these prayer and meditation modalities in order to serve, on Purim, as pole-holders who (behind the scenes), hold the space, ground the lights, and emanate a vibration that induces others to drop in more deeply than they otherwise could.

Our Purim Happening (that evolved into the High Council) started as an adaptation of a Chassidic tradition:

On Purim, the “Shpola Zeide” (a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov) would organize a special game. Certain chassidim, carefully chosen and directed by him, would disguise themselves, one as the “King of Purim,” the others as his princes and counselors. They would sit together in solemn session, in counsel or judgment, discussing weighty matters, all the time making resolutions and decisions. Sometimes the “Zeide” himself took part in the masquerade.

The chassidim say that these games had a powerful effect on the world with repercussions throughout the heavens. They say that these Purim edicts were potent to avert doom or the threat of doom decreed for Israel.

But I could never get comfortable with issuing decrees. Prayer, yes; decrees, no. I just can’t imagine that I would ever know better than HaShem what is the most spiritually productive outcome in this moment. And I just can’t imagine that Hashem would ever choose anything less than the most spiritually productive option. The very definition of Hashem (it seems to me) is that He/She/It will always choose the gentlest way that could possibly be designed to bring about our next step in personal and spiritual development given our current state of consciousness.

Consequently, from my I-center, that last clause, “given our current state of consciousness” is the place to make a difference. I do not believe that insisting on a different outcome without changing the current state of consciousness will ultimately produce a better result. And I also cannot imagine that improving the present state of consciousness will not automatically, yes, generate a positive effect (and also, yes, accelerate the answering of our prayer). And so, that becomes the focus of our Purim ritual, which also happens to be timely since the very essence of Purim is about altering consciousness as evidenced by its highly “unorthodox” obligation of inebriation.[1]

The name, High Council, refers to the entire group of women who gather on Purim to participate in the ritual. Sarah Yehudit Schneider is the formulator of the High Council. The inner circle of dedicated High Counselors who (metaphorically) do the heavy lifting are (in alphabetical order): Rivka Stauber, Meira Raanan, Malka Sima Pais, Yaffa Miller, Nomi Goldberg, Evie Gottleib, Yehudit Friedman, Chaya Sarah Brand-Farkas.

The nusach of the High Council was reviewed by a Rav and received a yashar kokhekh.

Preview of What's to Come

The High Council follows in Esther’s footsteps and moves through the various efforts that she applied to save the day. Esther employed four different practices that create a powerful mandala of prayer and meditation.
We are going to move through those four modalities, and we are going to do them in sequence, one by one. We will give a short time to each pole, and close each one with a nigun. Here is diagram that maps out the plan.

Purim High Council Prayer and Meditation Happening

As you see from this diagram, each of the poles is partnered…there is rotzo and shovchash and  mal. Nevertheless, we are actually going to move in the following order. Rotzo, mal, chash, shov. I’ll introduce them briefly here, but I will give ample instruction, within the High Council, as we are about to do each one:
So, ever so briefly: with ratzo we go up and gather a heap of ohr chadash (redemptive lights) free for the taking on Purim. Rotzo will be a guided meditation.
Then mal is: if we have anything to say about its distribution, our preference and our prayer is for it to go to x,y and z. Mal will be a hitbodedut.
Chash is asking for correction. If our prayers are off the mark then please adjust them (or even veto them if necessary). Do whatever you must do, HaShem, to assure that our efforts change the world in ways that are only good. And in the meantime we accept the present unconditionally.  Chash will be a meditation that could also be a hitbodedut.
And finally in shov we begin to integrate the ohr chadash—binding light to matter, fusing soul to body that is women’s special gift. 
Shov will be a circle dance.


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