Posts Tagged ‘יוקרא’

 

Metzora 5776: Take Me Apart

Posted on: April 14th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

Cleaning House - Scrubbing TileParashat Metzora details a particular form of leprosy that afflicts the mortar of a home (Leviticus 14:33-53). The home itself gets a spiritual sickness. This home-leprosy must be diagnosed by a priest. In extreme cases the mortar is removed, the stones scraped and some discarded. This meditation imagines a human being as “the house,” that we can be afflicted with an internal spiritual sickness that can only be cured with an inner dismantling and, even then, only with the help of G-d. Word choices are designated with a slash (“/”). This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Take Me Apart
Take me apart,
Bone by bone,
Sinew by sinew,
Organ by organ,
To reveal the lesions and strange bumps,
The fungus and the broken glass,
That blacken my veins,
That grind my joints,
That cloud my eyes.

I will take a knife and a wire brush
To scrape out the poison,
I will take rags and bleach
To wipe out the sludge,
Until my heart glows
And my soul shines
With the fruit of my own labor.

Only then,
Holy One,
When my flesh shimmers
And my spirit soars,
Reassemble me into
The man/woman/human
You intended
For me to become,
Clean and ready,
Holy and strong,
A sacred mirror,
Reflecting Your vastness
And Your glory.

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

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. 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.”

Photo Source: SelfTalkSoulTalk

Kedoshim: Holy

Posted on: April 18th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

HolyKedoshim opens with a spectacular line: “Ye shall be holy, for I, Adonai your G-d, am Holy.” (Lev 19:2) We’re commanded to be holy. How can we be commanded to be holy? Some say that holiness results from our efforts to fulfill the other commandments. Were that true, why would we need a separate commandment to be holy?

What if the commandment to be holy means to make ourselves witnesses to holiness? What if it means that we are to become vessels in which to collect sparks of holiness? It would be both simple to understand and the work of a lifetime: become ready to experience holiness when, suddenly, unexpectedly, miraculously, we’re in its presence.

This is a new two-part ritual to prepare us to sight holiness. I imagine doing it in a group, with drums, the group split in two. One group repeats Part 1, mantra-style. The second group reads Part 2 in rhythm with Part 1. At intervals, the groups switch parts. To help you experience it, I’ve included a two-minute recording of Part 1, which you can play while you read Part 2.

 

Holy
Part 1
Heartbeat.
Drum beat.
Pulse beat.
Holy.

Part 2
Holiness surrounds me,
Fills the empty space.
Wondrous luminosity.
Radiance and grace.
Pulsing. Pulsing.
Heavenly embrace.
Pulsing. Pulsing.
To this human place.

The Artist and the canvas,
The Sculptor and the stone,
The Composer and the notepad,
The Potter’s clay is thrown.
Creating the foundation.
Creating sky and earth.
Vast and small and present,
Yearning to be known.

Holiness is waiting.
Here and now and strong.
Waiting for a witness.
Hallelujah song.

Painted by Your light,
Sculpted, drafted, formed.
Story, dance and music.
Miracles performed.

My heart will be Your vessel,
A vessel for this light.
Collecting sparks and glimmers.
Marvelous delight.

Holiness is waiting.
Here and now and strong.
Waiting for a witness.
Hallelujah song.

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

Postscript: Rhyming is not my “go to” poetic tool, although there are a few powerful exceptions, such as “Come Walk.” Thank you to Rabbi Zoë Klein for her suggestion to use rhyme to solidify the pulse of Part 2, daring to play with — and to send me — a few of the verses rewritten to get the idea across. Check out her debut novel, Drawing in the Dust. As my first effort creating this kind of ritual, I’d also appreciate your comments.

This is posted for the double portion Acharey-Kedoshim 5775. Note that the Torah readings in Israel are currently out of sync with the rest of the world until May 23, 2015, Parahsat Bamidbar. I’m posting prayers related to the Torah portion on the earlier Israeli cycle.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Elev8

Tazria-Metzora 5775:Take Me Apart

Posted on: April 11th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Cleaning House - Scrubbing TileThe combined portion of Tazria-Metzora deals with impurity, with reference to a form of leprosy that afflicts the mortar of a home (Leviticus 14:33-53). The home itself gets a spiritual sickness. In extreme cases the mortar is removed, the stones scraped and some discarded. This meditation imagines a human being as “the house,” that we can be afflicted with an internal spiritual sickness that can only be cured with an inner dismantling and, even then, only with the help of G-d. Word choices are designated with a slash (“/”).

Take Me Apart
Take me apart,
Bone by bone,
Sinew by sinew,
Organ by organ,
To reveal the lesions and strange bumps,
The fungus and the broken glass,
That blacken my veins,
That grind my joints,
That cloud my eyes.

I will take a knife and a wire brush
To scrape out the poison,
I will take rags and bleach
To wipe out the sludge,
Until my heart glows
And my soul shines
With the fruit of my own labor.

Only then,
Holy One,
When my flesh shimmers
And my spirit soars,
Reassemble me into
The man/woman/human
You intended
For me to become,
Clean and ready,
Holy and strong,
A sacred mirror,
Reflecting Your vastness
And Your glory.

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

Postscript: The house-leprosy is a powerful and useful metaphor for family dysfunction.

Please check out my ELItalk “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: SelfTalkSoulTalk

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