For The Bracelet Project, Liza made a sterling silver bangle, imprinted it with texture from the western wall and used custom hebrew stamps to engrave it.
The words of the first commandment were especially difficult for us to translate into bracelet form so we consulted everyone from Rabbi Google to Rabbi Schwartz to Rav Shusterman.
In the end we went with the last suggestion - kosher, simple and straight from the commandment. "Anochi" can be translated to "I am G-d", but can also mean just "I" and also just "G-d". It's such a dimensional and deep word that many say it doesn't just encapsulate the first commandment, but the entire Torah.
By Nina Prays
I always thought the first commandment was “You shall have no other g-ds beside Me”. My mistake. And now, for the first time, I am concentrating on this very different commandment. It does not really command anything. Just imparts information, just invites into a relationship, “Here I am, and I am the one who took you out of Egypt. You are important to me. And I to you. We have a bond.”
I look up the word “anochi” and it turns out to be of Egyptian origin. Why would He speak to us in the language of our enslavers? If anybody can relate to this conundrum, it is I, who grew up speaking to my mother in Russian, the vernacular of my enemies. It is I, who does not want my children to know the language of my youth, and yet showers them with endearments from that idiom. I know with certainty that the language of one’s childhood and youth has an immense impact. And so did G-d. Maybe that is why his first word to His chosen people was in the language of their youth, Egyptian.
This is not an easy commandment for for me to deal with. I look at somebody who comes to me with an outstretched arm and says, “This is I who has done all these things for you.” How do I then say, “Sorry, I do not believe you exist.”? But here’s the thing: I do not see anything. It is all words in a book. Or in The Book? The Book that has guided our lives, whether we want it or not.
By Joey Curtis
What thoughts do I think of first and foremost? To myself? To thoughts of my work, my livelihood, my girl, my dreams, my future, my past, my bills, my resentments? Yes, all of these thoughts more often than not come before my thoughts of G-d. They take me towards fear and ultimately away from G-d. It happens subtly, when I am preoccupied with myself, trying to take charge of my life.
About 6 years ago I was at the end of battling Mercury toxicity and completed my longest lemonade fast which lasted for 35 days. This was a very spiritual time for me. While fasting I attracted other fasters, some of which were on day 182 and were planning for 365! I was somehow invited to an event in which Gabriel Cousens was in Los Angeles to speak at the Kabbalah Center. I knew nothing about Kabbalah, nor am I Jewish, but I was invited and felt compelled to see what it was all about.
I had no idea what I was about to experience. It turned out that this was a very special engagement in which no one was invited or told that Gabriel would be in town until the last minute and I had been one of the lucky fasters in earshot or “on the same vibrational frequency” that led me to him. He was there to teach us meditation for free! And that is what we did together as a group.
But this was no ordinary meditation. He was there to deliver a message. The message was the name of G-d itself, the four letters in the Jewish alphabet, Yod Heh Wah Heh. I had never heard or seen these words before and I later found out that in traditional Judaism does not permit speak these words out loud.
Something very powerful happened. Something I cannot explain. I only know that what happened is true because I have continued to experience this happening for the past 6 years whenever I say or think of the Name of G-d. This experience affected me in such a profound way that at year 5 I felt compelled to tattoo these 4 letters on my hand so that I would remember G-d throughout my day.