And some are games!
Play is an important part of spiritual life, and gameplay can be thoughtful, contemplative, inspiring, and more. Here are the first offerings from Bayit Games, created by builder Steve Silbert. (The newest offering is at the top.)
Visual Torah cards
Find inspiration in every parasha.
The Torah is an amazing text bursting with visual metaphors. Every tiny detail of the Torah has significance and multiple meanings that can only be found by looking at Torah through a figurative microscope. I struggle with Torah, so my passion has become to distill the multi-faceted complexity of Torah into simple images from my heart.
This deck contains a card for each Torah portion (parasha) containing a single verse on one side and an image of my interpretation of that verse on the other side.
Holding the whole.
Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa would carry two slips of paper in his pockets, with a note on each, so that he could reach into one or the other, depending on the need.
When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, he would reach into his right pocket, and there find the words: “For my sake was the world created.” (BT Sanhedrin 37a:16)
But when feeling high and mighty he would reach into his left pocket, and find the words: “I am but dust and ashes.” (Genesis 18:27)
R’ Simcha teaches us that life is a balancing act between the self-perception of being merely one of the uncountable specks of dust in the Universe and the self-perception that each of us is unique and irreplaceable. We live in the spectrum between these two perspectives. The challenge is to be aware of both while not letting one become dominant.
Each card in this set contains the phrases “For my sake the world was created” and “I am but dust and ashes” on the front and this short story on the back. There are seven color-themed cards corresponding to the colors in the rainbow and seven copies of each making this a set of forty-nine portable, engaging and self-contained teachings.
These cards are perfect as a handout during the High Holidays or at any other learning or introspective occasion.
Hineni meditation dice
Calling us to presence.
The burning bush on three sides, Hineni (Here I am) on the other three sides.
Hebrew is filled with words that don’t translate simply into English. Hineni is one of those words. Saying “Hineni” doesn’t simply mean, “I’m here” the way a student responds to a teacher at roll call. Hineni means, “I am here for you fully, with the trust and vulnerability to do whatever it is you ask of me.”
This is how Abraham answers God’s call in Genesis 22:1, how Israel responds to God’s call in Genesis 46:2, and how Moses respond’s to God’s call in Exodus 3:4.
The safety to be vulnerable is an important part of any relationship. How you show up matters, both to you and the others with which you are in a relationship.
Whether your relationship is with God or with another person, carry this die with you as a reminder to be fully present with trust and vulnerability, ready do do whatever is asked.
The Graceful Living Deck
At the intersection of spiritual life and game design…
The Graceful Living deck is a tool for spiritual life designed by Steve Silbert and featuring teachings distilled from Rabbi Mike Moskowitz’s Graceful Masculinity, a volume of Torah essays that draws on a wide range of classical Jewish teachings in service of creating a society where all gender expressions are understood as reflections of the Divine.
Each card features a verse from a different parsha (Torah portion) and a teaching rooted in that verse, alongside a character-development focus. These are playing cards with a spiritual twist, since each card also features a teaching or opportunity for reflection. They can also be used in other ways, including meditation, teaching and learning, drawing a card before Shabbat dinner to spark conversation at the table, drawing a card during prayer time and reflecting on its resonance, etc.
And if you’re looking for suggestions for how to use them in teaching, in learning, in spiritual life, in gameplay, and more, check out this post on Builders Blog: Introducing the Graceful Living deck!