Hiding My Face

This meditation is inspired by the hope and joy found in the Ashrei. It’s a beloved prayer based on Psalm 145, other verses of Psalms added at its beginning and end. The Talmud says that “anyone who recites A Psalm of David [Psalm 145] three times every day is assured of a place in the world to come” (Brachot 4b). That’s why it occurs twice in the traditional Shachriet service and once in Mincha. This meditation envisions the Ashrei as the antidote for one who has entered a spiritual malaise.

Hiding My Face
What does it mean
When I hide my face from You?
When I withhold my prayers?
My voice? My song?

Your Glory is like the sun,
Warming my skin and the land.
I am afraid that You will
Take all of me,
Leaving me parched and burned,
Unable to recognize myself.

You who stand thirsty at G-d’s well,
You cannot run from your sacred calling,
You cannot run from G-d’s voice.
Perhaps ignore it,
Perhaps postpone it,
Until the weight of your destiny
Swallows you whole
And there is nowhere left to hide.

אשׁרי יוֹשבי ביתך
Ashrei yoshvei veitecha
Happy are those who dwell in Your house.
Happy are those who sing Your praise.
Happy are those who do Your works.
Happy are those who answer Your call.

Open my hands,
Open my heart,
Draw me close to You.
Guard me. Guide me. Save me.

תהלת יהוה ידבר-פי,
Tehilat Adonai yedahber pi,
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Adonai,
ויברך כל-בשׂר שם קדשׁו לעולם ועד
Vi’vareich kol basar sheim kodsho l’olam va’ed.
And let all flesh bless G-d’s holy name for ever and ever.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: In My People’s Prayer Book, Vol. 3, P’sukei D’Zimrah, find an amazing article on the rhetorical structure of the Ashrei by Rabbi Reuven Kimelman.

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.

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