Archive for the ‘Torah’ Category

 

The Volcano

Posted on: February 5th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

This week we read Parashat Yitro, in which the wandering Israelites receive the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai. This week also brings the official release of These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah from CCAR Press. The book presents seventy discussions of single words of Torah paired with a poetic Midrash based on each word. In celebration of the book release and this week’s parasha, here’s the poem for the word ‘Sinai.’

The Volcano
Sinai was a volcano of Torah,
Explosions of wisdom and love,
The fire of God’s word pouring forth,
Thunder in the air,
Tremors in the ground,
Sending a plume of holy ash
High into the sky,
Fine ash, now invisible,
Still settling slowly on the earth,
Ash that speaks,
Bringing new wisdom,
New insights,
New beauty,
As it arrives
From the heavens
In every generation.

© 2023 CCAR Press from These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah

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Postscript: The research on the word that inspired this poem can be found in the book itself.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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Crown

Posted on: August 23rd, 2022 by Alden No Comments

This idea for this brief meditation arrived during Shabbat services a week ago as the sefer Torah was being returned to the ark. Let my life be a crown upon the Torah. Amen

Crown
Let my life be a crown
Upon the Torah.
And let Torah
Be the crown of my life.
My heart will overflow
With God’s teachings,
My hands will become
A fountain of God’s blessings,
And my soul will give testimony
To the glory of God’s holy word.

© 2022 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Postscript: See also Let Torah and For the Gift of Torah Scholarship.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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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Photo Source: Congregation Beth Israel

Scroll

Posted on: June 20th, 2022 by Alden No Comments

A prayer/poem for divine inspiration.

Scroll
What do you think
Is written
On the other side of the parchment?
A future not yet revealed?
A secret forgotten past?
Ancient prayers waiting to be discovered?

Maybe it’s a giant canvass,
Yearning for charcoals and oils,
Yearning for colored pencils and finger paints,
Yearning for hearts and hands,
To call forth the messages
We’re still unable to hear.

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Teach Me

Posted on: October 17th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A short meditation on learning Torah from everyone.

Teach Me
Teach me
The Torah
That G-d taught
Only to you,
And I will
Teach you
The Torah
That G-d taught
Only to me.
For, certainly,
G-d taught you secrets
In order for you
To teach me,
And G-d taught me secrets
In order for me
To teach you,
So that our hearts
Would cleave to each other’s
Through G-d’s holy word.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: My Jewish Learning

Stones of Remembrance

Posted on: February 17th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

800px-Beach_stones_and_sandThis meditation is based on four lines in Tetazveh (Exodus 28:9-12) instructing the creation of stone shoulder fasteners for the high priest’s Ephod (see postscript). Called avnei zikaron, remembrance stones, they were engraved with the names of the 12 tribes, the heritage of the Israelite people. This meditation asks: whose names will you carry as your heritage? It appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Stones of Remembrance
Whose names
Will you engrave upon your shoulders
When you stand before G-d in prayer?

Whose names
Will you carry in your heart
As you sing songs of blessing and praise?

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our ancestors:
Abraham and Sarah;
Rebecca and Isaac;
Leah, Jacob, and Rachel;
Moses, Miriam, and Aaron; and
________________________.
[add names from biblical times who are meaningful to you]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our sages:
Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Nachman;
B’ruriah, Yalta, and Ima Shalom;
The Rambam and the Tur;
Rabbis Regina Jonas and Abraham Joshua Heschel; and
________________________.
[add names of sages of the past who are meaningful to you]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our teachers:
________________________.
[add names of current scholars and teachers who have influenced you]

These are the stones of remembrance,
The righteous and the driven,
The certain and the seeker,
The silent and the outspoken,
The steadfast and the heartbroken,
Who have led us,
Taught Your Torah,
And rallied congregations and assemblies
To Your service.

Let my name,
One day,
Be worthy.
Let my life
Become a tribute to Your wondrous works,
A remembrance of Your gifts throughout the generations.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Postscript: The Ephod was an apron covering the High Priest’s tunic and robe, serving as the place where the Choshen, the breastplate, was fastened. The Soncino/Hertz commentary says the engravings were to remind the people of their unity; the Stone Chumash says they reminded G-d of the righteousness of the people. The Women’s Torah Commentary notes that “inscriptions asking G-d to ‘remember’ supplicants for good attest to the implicit hope that G-d will always be mindful of the people and presumably bring them blessings.”

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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

Heart, Soul, Might

Posted on: August 15th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

Here’s a new meditation on the Shema. My other meditations on the Shema include “Affirmation of Faith” and “Gathering: A Dream of Reunion.”

Heart, Soul, Might
When you choose
ואהבת (v’ahavta)
To love
את יהוה אלהיך (et Adonai Elohecha)
Adonai your G-d
בכל-לבבך (b’chol l’va-v’cha),
With all your heart,
You must choose
To love yourself
The way G-d
Already does.

When you choose
ואהבת (v’ahavta)
To love
את יהוה אלהיך (et Adonai Elohecha)
Adonai your G-d
בכל-נפשך (b’chol nafshe’cha),
With all your soul,
You must choose
To love others
The way G-d
Already does.

When you choose
ואהבת (v’ahavta)
To love
את יהוה אלהיך (et Adonai Elohecha)
Adonai your G-d
בכל-מאדך (b’chol me’odeh’cha),
With all your might,
You must choose
To love creation
The way G-d
Already does.

When you choose
To love everything and everyone
The way G-d already does,
You will flow with grace
Through the river of life
To the Soul of the universe.

,למען תזכרו ועשיתם את-כל-מצותי
.והייתם קדשים לאלהיכם
L’maan tizk’ru, vaasitem et-kol-mitzvotai,
Vihyitem k’doshim l’Eloheichem.
Be mindful of my mitzvot and do them,
And you will become holy unto your God.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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 Source: Orthodox Christian Network

Before the Beginning

Posted on: January 12th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A brief meditation inspired by the opening five lines of Torah, Gen. 1:1-5, the first day of creation, and, perhaps, the moments in which G-d alone imagined the world before the beginning. This appears in my new book, This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Before the Beginning
From eternity,
From the place beyond the highest heavens,
Where stillness is motion
And motion is stillness,
Where nothing and everything meet,
Where time and timelessness are one,
G-d imagined a universe
In which existence
Could only begin
By first
Creating light.

.ויהי-ערב ויהי-בקר, יום אחד
Viyhi erev, vivhi voker, yom echad.
And there was
Evening and there was
Morning.
A first day.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings 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 Source: Alden Solovy

Return Us to You

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A prayer in praise and thanksgiving for the ark and it’s holy contents. See also, “Ki Mi’Tzion.”

Return Us to You
Open,
Gateway to holiness!
Open your mysteries and secrets
To a world yearning for truth.
Open your doors to Torah,
To sacred wisdom,
Invite the generations to enter.

עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה, ותמכיה מאשר  
Eitz chayim hi lamachazikim bah, v’tom’cheha m’ushar.
It is a tree of life for those who cling to it, and those who uphold it are happy.

For Torah is the keeper
Of ancient blessings,
Of timeless wisdom,
The foundation of faith,
The essence of One,
The rhythm of time,
And the glory of our lives.

דרכיה דרכי נעם וכל נתיבותיה שלום
D’racheha darchei noam v’chol n’tivoteha shalom.
It ways are pleasant, and all its paths are peace.

Open,
Gateway to holiness!
The splendor of the beginning.
The radiance of the ending.
The way of our ancestors
And the entrance to our hearts.

השיבנו ה’ אליך ונשובה. חדש ימינו כקדם
Hashivenu Adonai eilecha v’nashuva. Chadesh yameinu k’kedem.
Return us to you, G-d, so that we shall return. Renew our days as of old.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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 Source: ZionTalis Judaica

Ki Mi’Tzion

Posted on: January 10th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This is a meditation to be said before removing the Torah from the ark. It appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Ki Mi’Tzion
Let Torah pour forth
From Jerusalem and Zion.
Let Torah pour forth
From our hearts and our hands.
Let Torah pour forth
From our words and our deeds.
Torah is our light and our salvation.
Torah is our protection and our hope.
And G-d will be with us,
And G-d will bless us,
As Torah lights our way.

כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה
וּדְבַר יי מִירוּשָׁלָֽיִם
Ki miTziyon teitzei Torah,
Ud’var Adonai mi’Y’rushalayim.
For out of Zion will come the Torah,
And the word of Adonai from Jerusalem.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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 Source: Scrolls for All

Meditation on Mitzvot

Posted on: November 18th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on bringing holiness into the world through mitzvot. Prayer and Torah are the path. This piece will appear in my forthcoming book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

Meditation on Mitzvot
It’s simple, really,
This list of things we do,
As a people,
This list of things I do,
To live in a good way,
For others and myself,
To leave a legacy of love,
To leave the world
Just a little better each day.

A kind word.
A gentle hand.
A loving voice.
A giving heart.

It’s not so simple, really,
To remember to live this way.
Always.
So we arrive early to study Torah
And strive for devotion in prayer,
To remember to honor all beings
With compassion and understanding,
Living a life of mitzvot in joy and service,
So that Torah will resound from our hearts,
Through our words and deeds,
Into the world,
And into the generations to come.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

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Postscript: Here’s a link to “Peace Will Come,” which will also appear in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

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 Source: JTeach.org

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