Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Vayishlach 5773: The Descent

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” – Genesis 32:25

Sooner or later every man faces the trial of his life. This meditation is a metaphor for the inner journey, the inner struggle, the battle to find holiness and a new name. It’s another in my series of prayers and meditations for men. It will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler.

The Descent
When your time comes
And you hear the call
To become a man of power and wisdom,
A warrior and a king,
You will descend beyond the shadows,
Into the black cliffs of your soul,
Where fear stalks the hours,
And rage laughs at the abyss,
Where shame waltzes with pride,
And grief howls, unrestrained, with pleasure.

You will reach a narrow ridge
Above the hollows where other men were lost.
You will crawl on scree,
Cutting your hands and knees,
As you press hard
Against the trail,
Against the wind.

You will enter a cavern of darkness,
The unseen color of nothingness,
Where your voice echoes with dread,
And your heart beats with longing,
Where your breath smells of remorse
And your ears ring with lies and deceit.

When you reach bottom
Your enemy will attack,
With skill and cunning,
For you have set free the torment within,
The power of your anguish and your guilt.
The night will last beyond the rhythm of natural time
Until you forget if you are the holiness or the profane.
Only then the grip of unrighteous fury will weaken
And succumb to your strength.
Wounded but victorious,
You will be blessed by fire from the torch of heaven.
Its light will blend with the coming dawn.
In that moment you will finally see
The face of the man you fought.
You will know in your bones
That you must take him back with you into the light,
For it was you who invited him on the journey.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are three more prayers and meditations for men: “My Work Remains,” “For the Lost” and “My Heart Knows What It Needs,” as well as a link to a list of all of my prayers for and about men.

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Photo Credit: Chabad Jewish Center of Massachusetts.

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