Shemini: G-d on Tiptoes
Early in this week’s Torah portion, a very simple line appears: “…the glory of G-d appeared unto all the people.” (Leviticus 9:23) The simplicity stands in contrast to the scene from parashat Yitro in which G-d appears in smoke and fire, the earth quaking. Here, G-d’s glory arrives without fanfare. This meditation for parashat Shemini is the mirror of my Yitro meditation, “G-d’s Voice.” The prayer maintains the structure of the first, borrowing the forth stanza and the closing lines, setting up both connection and contrast. This appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.
G-d on Tiptoes
What if G-d arrived unannounced?
No smoke. No thunder.
A gentle appearance of radiance and love.
What if G-d snuck in on tiptoes?
No earthquake. No blast of the shofar.
A luminous presence of wonder and glory.
What if G-d’s voice whispered in your ear,
So quiet that you had to hold your breath to hear?
A silent surrender of hope and faith.
What if holiness packed the empty space with light
As your lungs filled with the one divine breath
Together with every other living being?
What if G-d’s voice is as near
As your willingness to listen quietly
To the soul of the universe,
As a sense of calm and peace
Pass through you?
What if that moment
© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day
Postscript: After a friend assured me that the Torah’s paucity of language assumes we know, precisely from Yitro, that G-d’s arrival is full of wonder and terror, he then said: “Of course, we do have the image of the still, small voice.” (Kings 19:12) Here’s another link to “G-d’s Voice.”
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