Community HOP-Captive Children
WHO : a group of people living joyfully a Jewish life together in purity, holiness and unity within the borders of orthodox Judaism
VISION : holistic (seeing the whole picture in all aspects)
INSPIRATION : Therapeutae, Essenes
FOUNDATION : TORAH (written and oral), prayer (formal and informal), hitbodedut (as souls that have an unique relationship with G-d).
EXCLAMATION : CCH NOW : Closeness and Cleaving to Hashem (Deveykut) through Nullifying Our Will (bittul haratzon)
IMPORTANT: Intrinsic love for yourself and humility
NEVER FORGET : Hashem runs the world, Hashem is behind everything, even behind all our activities
MISSION ON EARTH : Do the will of the Creator and not your own will, serve Hashem and bring Tikkun (repair)
GOAL : Kingdom of God/Olam haba/Gan Eden
PHASE : starting.
Some introductory thoughts
Our community is built on following principles : a Jewish faith; a life within community, the garden, the food, simplicity, good teaching and hospitality. Speaking about Jewish faith ... we feel at home within traditional Judaism. The G-d of Israel is our G-d and we seek our bond with Him through a way of life within Jewish tradition because the G-d of Israel Himself made a covenant with Am Israel (the People of Israel) Himself on mount Sinai. Our community life is determined by a simple agrarian lifestyle founded on Torah and kindness. Our daily life is impregnated by d’veykut1 ; our spirituality is chasidic and we feel familiar here with the Breslov movement. Deep within us we feel a growing conviction that even we belong to Am Israel but up till now most of us weren’t able to turn this awareness into a reality because of their specific life circumstances. As such we feel like ‘captive children’, separated from Am Israel where instead we feel at home. This is not some superficial or mere emotional experience but rightly a spiritual quest as it finds its expression in our obedience to the commandments within the frame of Judaism. All this we found explained so strikingly in the vision of ‘The Captive Child’ shared by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum2. There are more of us but many still are living in the shadows. Our community shares this vision and wants to be a home, an open house for everyone longing for a personal relationship with the Holy One of Israel within the frame of Judaism. If you want to know more of all this, read our welcoming flyer or ask for a talk with Jehoshu’a. Our faith engages us in respect and care for the creation: a lifestyle – as Am Israel lived under the leadership of Joshua – brought harmony with all environmental life. We may read how all Israel was able to enjoy a life of abundance and happiness though they lacked our ‘modern’ comfort. We discover how destroying the life of ‘modern’ man actually can be, reaching such heights in its materialism and egoism that we could wonder how long this still will stand. But on our ‘quinta’ we like doing our share here in a way we can afford. Through this we can reveal there is a different – more biblical – option to enjoy a good and healthy life. In our view this even is crucial if we want a growth of our relationship with G-d through a greater awareness of our dependence on Him. This vision entails a focus on simplicity (agrarian lifestyle), nature (ecology), independence (self sustenance), health, and a kind concern for the local market and its customers.
We believe that all matter (material level) on this earth has a function and relates to higher levels and ultimately to G-d.
It is on this earthly level that we dwell and put most of our energy and time. Our goal isn't this level. Our body who is made to function on this earthly level, will decade on G-d's time as his function is completed. The goal is to complete, purify, elevate the soul (eternal part of the person what distincts humankind from other earthly creatures) in preparation for the Olam Haba (Kingdom of G-d). On this path walked many Tzaddikim3 instructing us to follow their example or way of living.
Attachment to matter or our body is for the above mentioned reason not a part of the 'DNA'of the community, but a mean given to us, to serve Hashem. We believe a good way to accomplish that, is through living in a community by having material possessions in common. This doesn't mean that everyone has to give up his or her own uniqueness. No, every soul is unique (Yechidah), with its own unique abilities and its unique way in uniting with Hakadosh Baruch Hu (the Holy, Who is blessed). Are you a fisherman and is fishing a part of your essence and a part of your task on these earth, than you will need the necessary equipment for your specific task, that obsiously will not be as necessary for others. This is true for each individual (soul) and this has nothing to do with personal desires or cravings.
Off course, more important than material possessions in our community unity of the souls is or/and yearning towards unity with the Creator (Deveykut).
We also want to make clear that we in no way want to undermine family life. It is the opposite, we want to strengthen the families who want to live on our ‘quinta’.
Practical and financial aspects of community life on our Quinta :
Real Estate :
The property of amply 11 ha is bought by our family and we remain the only owners during the starting period. This has several reasons, practical and financial but it also creates the safety and stability we need during this period. Sharing our property and expanding it, remain the goal and it will come on the agenda in due time
The property will belong to the people adhering our project HOP-Captive Children and wanting to walk the path with Hashem in community with us . This people may then consider everything as "their own property". They thus also will have to participate in the care of the property and contribute on their level for the maintenance and improvement of our material potential, as if it would have been their own private property. In terms of finances we understand a business agreement equitable for all parties, should be subscribed. This agreement should be compulsory for all parties and the executionof it is a necessary condition for further cooperation and living together. It is impossible to deviate from this and the consequent implementation is a necessary tool to protect all parties. Honesty in business affairs is essential and belongs to our basic ideas.
Our property is big and taxes are likewise. The old buildings demand for maintenance and reparations. The infrastructure, although less luxurious than mostly are used to, demanded a big investment from us. We would like to share, but it is impossible for us to carry all the burdens by ourselves. The financial part of the agreement to live together is not the most enjoyable one, but it still is a test of engagement for (potential) new residents.
All things apart from the buildings and the land is communal property (for use) of all the members of the HOP-Captive Children community. But co-ownership gives one the responsibility to care for it as if one were its full owner. If one - later on - would decide to leave our community, he cannot take with him any of all this as his own property.
Of course one has its own private lodging where one can get personal possessions and this lodging may not be freely accessible for others. This also is an important principle.
We have a work schedule that takes into account the capacities and abilities of everybody leaving space for spiritual study, prayer, family time and creativity. The work schedule is made up by the leaders of the community and it is made known at the morning meeting and/or announced on paper. We work in the awareness that the Almighty is with us and we work for Him giving our best and we are willing to learn and to improve. We strive for all this in an encouraging way and with the emphasis on the good in each other. An important note is that each individual is important and his voice is as important and must be heard.
Our 'quinta' is a big castle farm with annexes (small apartments). In the main building we receive guests. Besides this there is space for community. On the ground flour we have a big hall (azamra/we will sing) for communal activities. Besides, on the same floor there is a hall (tefillah) for prayer and hitbodedut, a hall for recreation, a kitchen and toilets. We have four furnished little appartments for residents: they are perfect for two persons, but there also are options for bigger families. Beyond all this there still are three ruins on the property, that be-ezrat HaShem will create more options for expansion in the future.
The spiritual and practical life in the HOP-Captive Children communtiy is determined by Jewish Halacha (shulchan Aruch). Specific choices or decisions sometimes have to be taken. We make decisions in accord with our HOP-Captive Children philosophy and if possible we ask advise from a Jewish orthodox rabbi. It is typical for our community to decide by unanimity, whereby everybody is expected to search the Holy One for Heavenly assistance (siyata d'shmaya) . Unanimity then expresses itself through our unity. Without unanimity we postpone but should a decision impose by itself in urgency, we throw the lot. All decisions are recorded in a notebook and made known to everyone of us.
Our daily walk or Halacha must be applied consequently by everyone.
1 d’veykkut : ‘cleaving to G-d’
3 a tzaddik (pl: tzaddikim) is someone who is righteous in the eyes of G-d.