Posts Tagged ‘awe of G-d’

 

Receiving Blessings

Posted on: December 29th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

This prayer is my blessing for you for 2019. It’s about opening our hearts to receiving blessings. In this New Year, may we bless each other and be open to being blessed. This prayer appears in my new book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Receiving Blessings
Ancient One,
Open my heart to receive
The blessings around me,
Kindness and wisdom,
Friendship and understanding,
Tenderness and compassion,
Moments of holiness,
Messages from heaven.

Source and Shelter,
Why can’t I bless others
With the fullness of my being
With joy and thanksgiving,
From a hope for healing
And a pulse of love,
To fill the world with benedictions?

Rock and Redeemer,
Grant me the ability to see and to hear
The blessings around me,
A fountain of love
To fill my soul
With gratitude and courage,
With joy and peace.

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

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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.

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The Temple

Posted on: July 11th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

Today is the 17th of Tammuz, a minor fast day commemorating the breach in the outer walls of Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the Second Temple on Tisha b’Av. Today, the breach is not in the physical walls of the city, but in the spiritual hearts of our people. The Kotel isn’t a place where Jews can pray freely, according to our own diverse customs and practices. The Kotel is a hostage to ultra-Orthodox control. This prayer turns the tables: the Temple mourns our inability to hear God’s voice, the priests mourn a divided House of Israel and the sacrifices mourn those who’ve forgotten G-d’s sacred call.

The Temple
Do not mourn
For the Temple Mount.
The stones mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That God’s Voice
Can still be heard in the hills.
The stones mourn for you
Who have forgotten
That God’s Voice can still be heard in the valleys,
In the forests and deserts,
In the waters and skies.

Do not mourn
For the lost priests.
The tribes mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That God’s people are one.
Ephraim and Judah,
The Levites and the daughters of Zelophehad,
Ask why we still divide the House of Israel,
Why we still cast judgment,
Why we spurn each other with anger.
The tribes mourn for you who have
Forsaken your brothers
And rejected your sisters,
Closing your minds and hardening your hearts.

Do not mourn
For the lost sacrifices.
The yearling without blemish,
The ephah of fine flour and the hin of oil,
Mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That God requires your love and your power,
Your hope and your deeds.
The yearling, the flour and the oil mourn for you
Who have forgotten
That God wants the blood that flows through you,
The strength of your days,
Your song and your laughter,
Your wisdom and healing.

Tear your clothes
And sit in ashes
If you must.
Then, rise up!
Rise up and listen to God’s call:

Love My People Israel,
Love all of My People Israel.
Then, you will know the depth of My righteousness
And will drink from the well of My compassion.
Give them your heart.
Give them your days in service,
With joy and thanksgiving,
So that My Glory will dwell among you,
And that your days are long on this earth.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Instead of the phrase “Do not mourn for…,” I considered using “When you mourn for…” I ultimately decided to leave the introductory lines to each stanza as originally written, choosing to challenge our relationship to the Temple and to each other head on, without pulling the punch. Here’s a link to another prayer/metaphor that uses preparing to say the Shema as a dream/vision of the in-gathering of Jews to our land.

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: Alden Solovy

The Rhythm of Wonder

Posted on: May 22nd, 2016 by Alden No Comments

This meditation about radical amazement was inspired during a class on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. I wondered silently if it would be possible to write a prayer that captures the experience of radical amazement, thus creating a meditation to prepare the eyes and open the heart to awe and wonder. Here’s a link to read an essay about the allusions and metaphors in this meditation — also entitled “The Rhythm of Wonder,” on RitualWell.org.

The Rhythm of Wonder
When the mountains sing,
When the seas dance,
When a crescent moon glides the heavens
And the sun lifts day from night,
When the rivers waltz to hymns of rain,
And the oceans drum on cliffs of stone,
When the caper bush wakes
And the wild iris blooms,
Remember this,
It’s not the wind that lifts the eagle.
The eagle lifts the wind.

You are the love
That frees the baritone hills
And the pirouette skies,
A shaft of light to loose the crescendos of glory
And the colors of awe,
A heartbeat summoning the rhythm of wonder,
A yearning to hear the pulse of G-d.

When silence resounds with music,
When darkness radiates light,
When creation reaches up
From the core of the earth,
And eternity is a breeze
From the edge of the universe,
When the call to holiness shines brilliant
In the breathless dawn,
Remember this,
It’s not the prayer that lifts the blessing.
The blessing lifts the prayer.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer was inspired during a class called “Jewish Thinkers and their Worlds,” taught by Peta Jones Pellach, director of educational activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. During class

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: Alden Solovy

Breisheit: Evidence of Holiness

Posted on: October 6th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

600px-Sextans_B_Hubble_WikiSkyIn a patch of sky seen from the South Pole, researchers say they have glimpsed the beginning of time, a faint microwave glow of the Big Bang. Or maybe, just maybe, the scientists found something they cannot explain. The early stanzas of the prayer include lines adapted from an AP article that appeared in The Times of Israel. The prayer closes with lines from Gensis 1:1-5 as translated in the 1962 JPS volume The Torah: The Five Books of Moses. Quotes from these sources are shown in italics.

Evidence of Holiness

Suppose God
Plays hide and seek
Among the stars

Cosmic microwave radiation —
A faint microwave glow from the Big Bang —
Has been detected from Earth…

Leaving evidence of holiness
So that we might yearn
To glimpse the moment when
The divine desire to create burst forth
Into an explosion of awe and wonder.

These waves are signals of
An extremely rapid
Inflation of the universe…

Consider this, dear sister.
Answer this, dear brother.
What is it that you see
With your heart
When a faint glow
From the beginning of time
Reaches the earth?
What is it to know that
A rhythmic pattern
Of radiance is the
Foundation of everything?

Could it be,
Could it be

With darkness
Over the surface
Of the deep…

That the Painter,
The Composer,
The Sculptor,
The Author of all Being,
Signed this masterwork
Of creation

God said:
“Let there be light…”

Leaving a trace of glory
For us to find,
Using ripples in the
Fabric of the cosmos?

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

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This is a revised version of the prayer first posted here on March 19, 2014. I welcome reactions to the combination of news text, scripture and poetry. I use the technique of posing questions to the reader in a variety of meditations and prayers, including “For Healing the Spirit,” “Regarding Old Wounds” and “For Sharing Divine Gifts.” All three appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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: WikiMedia Commons

Shemini: G-d on Tiptoes

Posted on: March 29th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

still-small-voiceEarly 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
Is now?

© 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.”

Please check out my Meet the Author video 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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Yitro: G-d’s Voice

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

voice1Together, standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Jewish people witness the moment when G-d descends to the mountaintop to enter into a covenant with Israel. This Shavuot meditation, based on Parashat Yitro (Ex. 19:16-19) asks us to imagine that moment, the very moment when G-d’s glory touches the earth. It appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

G-d’s Voice
What if G-d’s voice was so near
That your bones rattled
As thunder echoed inside your chest?

What if G-d’s voice was so near
You could feel the wind hit your face
As your feet seemed to slip on shaking ground?

What if awe and wonder surrounded you,
So close that your knees buckled,
As a pillar of fire from heaven descends to earth?

What if holiness packed all 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 remember
The moment we stood together on Sinai,
Amid the smoke and the lightning,
Hearing the great blast of the shofar?

What if that moment
Is now?

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

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Postscript:  If you like this prayer, you might also enjoy: “To Hear Your Voice,” “I Saw G-d” and “In Plain Sight.”

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: Celebration Church

Evidence of Holiness

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

600px-Sextans_B_Hubble_WikiSkyIn a small patch of sky, seen from the South Pole, researchers say they have glimpsed the beginning of time. They have found the faint microwave glow of the Big Bang, when the universe was one trillionth of one trillionth of one trillionth seconds old. Or maybe, just maybe, they found something scientists cannot explain.

Written this morning, this meditation is a first attempt to combine original writing with both secular and religious texts. At the beginning, I’ve taken lines from the caption of a photo from the Associated Press as it appears in The Times of Israel. It closes, with lines from Gensis 1:1-5 as translated in the 1962 JPS volume The Torah: The Five Books of Moses.

Evidence of Holiness
Suppose G-d
Plays hide and seek
Among the stars

Cosmic microwave radiation
Is a form of light…

Leaving evidence of holiness
So that we might yearn
To glimpse the moment when

Changes in a particular
Polarization may be caused
By gravitational waves…

The divine desire to create
Burst forth

These waves
Are signals of
An extremely rapid
Inflation of the universe…

Into an explosion of awe
And wonder.

Consider this, dear sister.
Answer this, dear brother.
What is it that you see
With your heart
When a faint glow
From the beginning of time
Reaches the earth?
What is it to know that
A rhythmic pattern
Of radiance is the
Foundation of everything?

Could it be,
Could it be,

With darkness
Over the surface
Of the deep…

That the Painter,
The Composer,
The Sculptor,
The Author of all Being,

A wind from G-d
Sweeping over the water…

Signed this masterwork
Of creation –

G-d said:
“Let there be light…”

Leaving a trace of glory
For us to find –
Using ripples in the
Fabric of the cosmos?

And there was
Evening and there was
Morning.
A first day.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: I welcome reactions to the combination of news text, with scripture and poetry. Note here that I use the technique of posing questions to the reader within the prayer, a tool I use in a variety of meditations and prayers, including “For Healing the Spirit,” “Regarding Old Wounds” and “For Sharing Divine Gifts.” All three appear in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

Umbrella of Blessings

Posted on: December 5th, 2013 by Alden No Comments

blessingsHere’s a prayer in praise of G-d’s blessings. Why? By remembering the blessings around me – the blessings around my friends and family – my sight becomes clearer. Small annoyances vanish. Core fears fade. The light around becomes radiant. Even sadness and grief take on a new form, a new meaning, a new form of holiness. This is a companion to a prayer called “Receiving Blessings,” a prayer to see and receive the blessings around us.

Umbrella of Blessings
G-d of mystery,
G-d of wonder,
Your word is an umbrella of blessing,
Your wisdom a canopy of holiness and light,
A shelter of awe and wonder.

Ancient One,
Let Your blessings protect the strong
And lift the humble,
They guard the joyous
And they support the grieving,
They guide the hopeful
And raise the downcast.

Your tent is the arch of the heavens.
Your drape is the firmament of sky.
Your blessings quench our thirst,
Feed the land,
Fill our hearts,
Bring hope and healing.

Blessed are You, Ancient One,
You cover our lives with an umbrella of blessings,
Filling our days with joy and thanksgiving.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript:  Here are prayers with a similar theme: “Receiving Blessings,” “Garden of Blessings,” “An Amazing Life,” “These Blessings” and “Unlock Your Heart.”

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. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

Photo Source: Jen Martin Spirituality

Receiving Blessings

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

you are blessedThis prayer is about opening my heart to receive blessings. Why? For me, it is easier to bless than to accept the blessings of others. Even with years of writing gratitude lists, even though I know that life is a “Garden of Blessings,” fully taking in a compliment, a good word or a blessing is still a challenge, something I must practice. So, with this prayer I ask for G-d’s help in receiving blessings.

Receiving Blessings
Ancient One,
Open my heart to receive
The blessings around me,
Kindness and wisdom,
Friendship and understanding,
Tenderness and compassion,
Moments of holiness,
Messages from heaven.

Source and Shelter,
Why can I bless others
With the fullness of my being
With joy and thanksgiving,
But struggle to be blessed?
To release my heart?
To take in these gifts?

Rock and Redeemer,
Grant me the ability to see and to hear
The blessings around me,
A fountain of love
To fill my soul
With gratitude and courage,
With joy and peace.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are prayers with a similar theme: “An Amazing Life,” “These Blessings” and “Unlock Your Heart.”

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. Please take a moment to explore my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Photo Source: The Poached Egg

The Temple

Posted on: July 7th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

IMG_4239This meditation is for use from the 17th of Tammuz to Tisha b’Av, commemorating national calamities, central among them the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Throughout the ages, Jews have prayed for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. For some, that symbolizes a coming age of beauty and holiness, not a return to sacrificial rites. For others, the sacrificial cult is necessary for G-d’s glory to dwell among us.

This may be the most controversial piece I’ve written. It turns mourning for the loss of the Temple into a new metaphor: the Temple mourning for our inability to hear G-d’s Voice, the priests mourning for a divided House of Israel and the sacrifices mourning for those who have forgotten G-d’s call to service.

The Temple (Written 17 Tammuz 5771)
Do not mourn
For the Temple Mount.
The stones mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That G-d’s Voice
Can still be heard in the hills.
The stones mourn for you
Who have forgotten
That G-d’s Voice can still be heard in the valleys,
In the forests and deserts,
In the waters and skies.

Do not mourn
For the lost priests.
The tribes mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That G-d’s people are one.
Ephraim and Judah,
The Levites and the daughters of Zelophehad,
Ask why we still divide the House of Israel,
Why we still cast judgment,
Why we spurn each other with anger.
The tribes mourn for you who have
Forsaken your brothers
And rejected your sisters,
Closing your minds and hardening your hearts.

Do not mourn
For the lost sacrifices.
The yearling without blemish,
The ephah of fine flour and the hin of oil,
Mourn for you.
They mourn for you who have forgotten
That G-d requires your love and your power,
Your hope and your deeds.
The yearling, the flour and the oil mourn for you
Who have forgotten
That G-d wants the blood that flows through you,
The strength of your days,
Your song and your laughter,
Your wisdom and healing.

Tear your clothes
And sit in ashes
If you must.
Then, rise up!
Rise up and listen to G-d’s call:

Love My People Israel,
Love all of My People Israel.
Then, you will know the depth of My righteousness
And will drink from the well of My compassion.
Give them your heart.
Give them your days in service,
With joy and thanksgiving,
So that My Glory will dwell among you,
And that your days are long on this earth.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Instead of the phrase “Do not mourn for…,” I considered using “When you mourn for…” I ultimately decided to leave the introductory lines to each stanza as originally written, choosing to challenge our relationship to the Temple and to each other head on, without pulling the punch. Here’s a link to another prayer/metaphor that uses preparing to say the Shema as a dream/vision of the ingathering of Jews to our land. And here’s a prayer called “Season of Sorrow.”

Tweetable! Please help share this prayer with this suggested tweet, including the link:
“Do not mourn for the Temple Mount. The stones mourn for you…” The Jewish Temple mourns for the people: https://tobendlight.com/?p=5603

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: Alden Solovy

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