Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Mishpatim 5775: The Statutes of Heaven

rulesThere are 53 mitzvot in this week’s Torah reading, Mishpatim. This new meditation recognizes the breadth of these commandments while making several direct references to the parasha. One is the word ‘ordinance,’ referring to the parasha’s name and opening line. Another comes at close of the first stanza, a reference to Exodus 24:7: “We will do and obey.” The third stanza alludes to Exodus 22:28: “Thou shall not delay to offer the fullness of thy harvest…”

The Statutes of Heaven
This will be a law,
An ordinance of heaven,
A statute for all time
That I will obey.
Love.
Love so that my hands
Yearn to heal.
Love so that my eyes
Yearn for holiness and beauty.
Love so that sacred words of Torah
Are forever on my lips.
I will do and I will listen.

And if I forget
To love this life I’ve been given,
If I forget to love the G-d of my people,
The homeless and the stranger,
The widow and the orphan,
The statutes of heaven will remind me
Against a callous heart,
Against neglect and deceit,
Against contempt and vain pursuit.

These are the first fruits of my heart.
Kindness and charity.
Thanksgiving and mourning.
Joy and sorrow.
Repentance and prayer.
Honor, wisdom and grace.
I will not withhold them
From my G-d,
Neither the fullness of my being,
Nor the richness my celebration.

The statutes of heaven are my guide.
They resound from Sinai into my life.
This will be a law,
An ordinance of heaven,
A statute for all time:
Love through service,
Love through Torah and mitzvot,
Love through a life of holiness.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: The unifying idea of love in this meditation comes from other parts of Torah, including parashat Vayikra, Leviticus 19:18, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Here are two more prayers about serving G-d with an open heart: “Let Your Heart Stir” and “Let Us Meet.”

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Photo Source: Jewish Gems, Mishpatim: Crossing a Line

 

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