Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Jerusalem: A Meditation, Revised

Jerusalem GettyI wrote this two years before becoming a Yerushalmi, a Jerusalem resident. This revision shifts the tone slightly, while maintaining the essential view of Jerusalem as the focal point of G-d’s relationship with the Jewish people, the place where heaven and earth touch, the place where history meets our daily lives. What remains: a lovely yet melancholy meditation.

Addendum, Aug. 3, 2014, Erev Tisha b’Av: We have had two terrorist attacks in the city today. And so, the meditation has a much different feel now compared to when I first wrote it four years ago and when I reposted it last year for Yom Yerushalaim.

Addendum, Nov. 10, 2014: We’ve now had a spate of car terrorism and assaults that, again, change the feel of this piece.

Jerusalem: A Meditation (Revised)
Jerusalem,
You are mystery and wonder,
Secrets hidden and secrets revealed.
You are beauty in the hills
And holiness in stone.

City of Peace,
Why are you still besieged by nations?
Why are you held hostage from within?
What errant flight has the white dove taken?
What mission of love and mercy
Has drawn her away from her sacred home?

Jerusalem,
You are prayers and echoes,
Questions without answer,
Yearning and hope,
Radiance and splendor,
The heartbeat of generations.

Jerusalem,
You are my journey and my destination.
You are my dream
And you are my longing.
You are my joy
And you are my sorrow.
Will you be my consolation?

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to the original piece. In this revision I struggled with retaining one sentence: “Why are you still held hostage from within?” One reading of this sentence is as a reference to the recent uptick in terrorism in Jerusalem. In my original thinking, it was a reference to the broad (but not universal) Jewish religious intolerance and a monolithic Rabbinate that results in religious coercion and misogyny, an unabashedly politically and religiously leftist view. I understand that others may read this sentence completely differently, reading it as the question of why Israel, which controls the Temple Mount, bars Jews from praying there. My rationale for maintaining this vague sentence in the meditation is that these questions — from addressing terrorism to religious pluralism — need to be addressed directly, publicly, without shying away from disagreements. Here are links to “Rules for Being Me in Jerusalem,” “Israel: A Meditation” and “For Peace in the Middle East.” Here are more prayers for and about Israel.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Eric Meola/ Getty Images

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