Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

 

Inside the (Hanukkah) Light

Posted on: December 18th, 2022 by Alden No Comments

5235427938_eee362646b_zThis meditation on light pluses with hope, carrying echoes of Hanukkah. It’s about seeing, feeling, and loving the light shining around us, and our yearning to be a source of light and hope for the world. I wrote it in 2012 on my Aliyah flight. My friend Cantor Brad Hyman set as a song in 2017. In 2021, CCAR Press published it my third solo volume with them, This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer. Here’s an article by Cantor Hyman on his inspiration for the music on Reform Judaism.org. I’m reposting this for Hanukkah 2022/5783.

Inside the Light
A rainbow shines
Inside the light.
If you could be the dew drop
You would always see it.

Stillness waits
Inside the light.
If you could be the sky
You would always feel it.

The sunrise dawns
Inside the light.
If you could be the horizon
You would always find it.

Freedom flows
Inside the light.
If you could be the wind
You would always ride it.

Beauty rises
Inside the light.
If you could be the sparrow
You would always reach it.

Mystery pulses
Inside the light.
If you could be the wonder
You would always know it.

Majesty reigns
Inside the light.
If you could be the wisdom
You would always hear it.

Faith rests
Inside the light.
If you could be the eagle
You would always hold it.

Your soul glows
Inside the light.
If you could be yourself
You would never leave it.

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

Postscript: Here’s another link to Cantor Hyman’s  musical setting. My other Hanukkah prayers include: “Lamps Within” and “The Season of Dedication.”

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.”

Photo Source: Ron Almog

The Season of Dedication

Posted on: December 1st, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Hanukkah Menorah 1When the Maccabees finally won back the Temple for the Jewish people, it took eight days to clean and consecrate the holy space. Chanukah derives from the Hebrew verb “חנך‎”, meaning “to dedicate.” The Temple was rededicated to the service of Adonai the G-d of Israel. So we take this as a season of dedication for our own lives to the service of Torah and mitzvot, for the healing of the world. This prayer appears in my CCAR Press book, “This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.”

The Season of Dedication
This is the season of dedication:
Of dedicating our moments and our lives,
Of dedicating our hope and our strength,
To live by G-d’s Word.

This is the season of cleansing:
Of cleansing our hearts and our sanctuaries,
Of cleansing our deeds and our ways,
Creating sacred time and space.

This is the season of service:
Of service to our neighbors and community,
Of service to K’lal Yisrael,
In the name of justice and peace.

This is the season of dedication:
Of dedication to strength and honor,
Righteousness and duty.
This is the season that calls forth miracles,
That summons the light of holiness,
The season the reminds us to rebuild and restore
Our commitment to mitzvot and avodah
In G-d’s holy name.

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

Postscript: This prayer is part of a series of prayers tied to various holidays and seasonal themes in the Jewish calendar, including: “The Season of Counting,” “The Season of Building” and “The Season of Healing.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my newest book, “This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.” 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 Credit: Jerusalem Baskets

Farewell Ushpizot, Ushpizin: Meditation Before Taking Down a Sukkah

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Each year, we construct beautiful dwellings for Sukkot. We intentionally create temporary, holy spaces. We invite the presence of honored guests, the ushpizin, seven prophets, patriarchs and kings of old. We invite the ushpizot, seven women prophets named in the Talmud. Some include the matriarchs. Some invite men and women from history.

This meditation for taking down a sukkah is meant to slow down the process, briefly, so that we disassemble it with intention, inviting the holiness of the space that we created into our lives.

Farewell Ushpizot, Ushpizin
Farewell, Ushpizot.
Farewell, Ushpizin.
You have brought blessing and wisdom
To our sukkah – this tabernacle of joy –
As our honored guests.
Watch over us as we journey on.
Stay with us in our hearts.

Farewell, Ushpizot:
Sarah and Miriam,
Devorah and Hannah,
Avigail, Huldah and Esther.

Farewell, Ushpizin:
Abraham and Isaac,
Jacob and Joseph,
Moses, Aaron and David.

Farewell to all who have graced this space
With your warmth and friendship.

.למען אחי ורעי, אדברה-נא שלום בך
Lma-an achai vrei-ai, adab’rah na shalom bach.
For the sake of my companions and friends,
I will speak of peace. (Ps. 122:8)

Taking down this sukkah,
We take the holiness into ourselves,
Dreaming of a time
When G-d’s sukkat shalom
G-d’s tabernacle of peace –
Will cover the earth.

Taking down this sukkah,
We pledge to carry holiness,
Love and light,
Peace and thanksgiving,
Into our lives and into the world.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: In using this meditation, adapt the names mentioned to those you invited into your sukkah. The meditation is my response to the unceremonious way that sukkot seem to be disassembled. What happens to the holiness created? Does it disparate? And what about our honored guests? We invite them in, but don’t have the courtesy to say farewell?

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: 6SqFt

Beauty Dances

Posted on: September 23rd, 2018 by Alden No Comments

sukkotOn Sukkot, joy and beauty arrive. We are called to bring that beauty into the world. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. Here’s a link to more prayers and meditations for Sukkot.

Beauty Dances
Beauty dances
With us
Whenever we build
A tabernacle
To God’s holy Name.

Love sings
With us
Whenever we rejoice
In gladness
On God’s festive days.

Peace cries
With us
Whenever we yearn
In prayer
For God’s holy shelter.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This tabernacle where we praise,
With all of our hearts,
God’s pardon and promise.
Let us build this place,
Where we delight,
With thanksgiving and wonder,
In God’s bounty and gifts.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This sukkat shalom,
This shelter of peace,
Where beauty dances
And love sings.
Where peace cries out:
Build, build,
You Children of Israel,
A tent of holiness,
Strong and true.
Build it in your heart,
In your home,
In your life,
In God’s world.

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

Postscript: This prayer first appeared on this site on Sept. 10, 2011. Find it in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

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: The Toronto Centre

Looking Back at Our Long Marriage

Posted on: April 23rd, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A simple prayer to be said after years and years of marriage. Here’s a related prayer, a “Blessing for a Spouse / Partner.” And for those just starting out, here are two more: “Bind Our Hearts” and “My Life in Yours.”

Looking Back at Our Long Marriage
Where has the time gone?
The days. The memories.
Where will time lead us?

Thank you, my dear,
For the years of devotion,
And the blessing of forgiveness.
For the seasons of laughter,
And the blessing of tears.

It was something, you and me, wasn’t it?
It still is, although most of the seasons are behind us.
We will celebrate and rejoice,
Mourn and love,
As we always have.

Thank you, G-d of love,
For this amazing marriage.
Watch over us
As we grow old together.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY: Thanks to CCAR Press for offering a 30% off sale on This Grateful Heart for my birthday. On Thursday, April 26, 2018, go to grateful.ccarpress.org  and use the code Alden30 at checkout. It’s valid for 24 hours and takes 30% off the retail price, making it $10.46, plus shipping.

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 Credit: Caroline’s Journal

I Sing

Posted on: January 7th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A prayer about song in honor of the amazing musicians filling the world with new Jewish music. The format — 6x6x3, six lines of six words in three stanzas — is inspired by the Facebook group I created where people share their Six Word Prayers. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

I Sing
I sing because G-d made music,
To lift our hearts and souls
From the hollow depths of darkness
To the highest heights of heaven,
From the cold shadows of desire
To the gates of radiant hope.

I sing because G-d made music,
To mark the moments of wonder,
To sanctify the moments of sorrow,
To soothe, to comfort, to gladden,
To cradle us with infinite harmony,
To rock us with eternal love.

I sing because G-d made music,
To give our souls a trumpet,
To give our wisdom a tambourine,
To give our prayers a voice,
To make our lives a song,
With the instruments of G-d’s blessings.

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

Postscript: Other prayers about song include: “We are Music,” “To Hear Me Sing,” “For the Gift of Song” and “For the Gift of Music.”

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: ClipArtLook

Sacred Silly

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This playful and unexpected prayer/poem makes fun of my own seriousness about writing prayers and liturgy. And I need a break from the intensity of affairs in both my allegiances, Israel and the U.S. This prayer appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and includes a line from Psalm 100: “Serve Adonai with gladness…”

Sacred Silly
Wouldn’t it be fun,
Just one time,
To secretly slip a goofy prayer
Inside the siddur,
Say, in the middle of the Amidah,
Where an unsuspecting Yid
Like you or me
Might just crack up
In sacred silliness,
Holy happiness,
Loving laughter,
As a testimony
To the juicy joy
Of Jewish jubilation?

So serious
These liturgists,
These poets and paytanim.
Let’s g’faw for God.
Let’s laugh out loud in praise.
Let’s giggle in thanksgiving.

.עבדו את-ה’ בשׂמחה, בֹאו לפניו ברננה
Iv’du et Adonai b’shimcah, bo-u le’fanav birnanah.
Serve Adonai with gladness, come before G-d’s presence with singing.

Let joy rise up to the gates of prayer.
Let laughter shake the highest heavens.

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

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, 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.”

Photo Source: David Goehring on Flicker

The Gifts of Our Lives

Posted on: April 4th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Divine-Gifts-6129895This new prayer of gratitude includes an alphabetical acrostic. Acrostics were a mainstay of Jewish liturgical poems, known as piyutim. This piece combines the acrostic with a four-part structure that repeats in each of the internal stanzas, using the metaphor of G-d as “well,” “source,” “foundation” and “crown.” In an early draft of a prayer called Elijah, I spelled his name with the initial letters in each of the opening lines, but later revised the piece to broaden its scope, losing the acrostic.

The Gifts of Our Lives
With gratitude and appreciation
We give thanks for the gifts
Which flow into our lives day-by-day.
A river of divine blessing.

For You are the well of Abundance,
The source of Beauty,
The foundation of Courage
And the crown of Dreams.

You are the well of Energy,
The source of Faith,
The foundation of Grace
And the crown of Hope.

You are the well of Insight,
The source of Justice,
The foundation of Kindness
And the crown of Love

You are the well of Mercy,
The source of Nourishment,
The foundation of Our Lives
And the crown of Peace.

You are the well of Quiet,
The source of Righteousness,
The foundation of Strength
And the crown of Truth.

For You are the well of Understanding,
The source of Vitality,
The foundation of Wonder
And the crown of Years.

With gratitude and appreciation
We give thanks for the gifts
Which flow into our lives day-by-day.
A river of divine blessing.

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

Postscript: Note that this acrostic is incomplete, it that I did not create lines for the letters q’ and ‘z.’ My other prayers of gratitude include several favorites: “Fresh Delights,” “Now,” “One Gift,” “Unseen Lands”  and “Sacred Cargo.”

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: Heaven Now

Vayakhel-Pekudei: For the Gift of Art

Posted on: March 10th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

'Windows_Open_Simultaneously_(First_Part,_Third_Motif)'_by_Robert_DelaunayIn this week’s double torah portion, Vayakhel-Pekudei, the master artist Bezalel is named to direct the creation of the tabernacle, all of its symbols and tools, as well as the vestments of the priests. From Impressionism to Dada, from sculpture to photography, from Michelangelo to Chagall to Hokusai, the visual arts are amazing. Here’s another prayer celebrating creativity. It follows the same structure as the others in this series, which is explained in the introduction to “For the Gift of Song.”

For the Gift of Art
G-d, we give thanks for the gift of art,
For pencil and paint,
For glass and fabric,
For metal and stone,
For the gift that sees wisdom and beauty hidden in Your works,
For the skill and love that creates and crafts,
Releasing divine radiance for others to see.
Hear this prayer for those who fashion art
Revealing the secret glories of Your creation.
Make their works Your vessel.
Let heaven pour its vision through them
So that they overflow with Your light
Drawing others to Your glory.
So that when we see their works,
Our souls turn back to You in appreciation.
Together, we offer our gratitude back to heaven,
And rejoice.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Be sure to check out the other prayers in this series: “For the Gift of Song,” “For the Gift of Words,” “For the Gift of Dance,” “For the Gift of Music,” “For the Gift of Laughter,” “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship” and “For the Joy of Learning.” This prayer first appeared on this site on July 2, 2010; this version has slight modifications.

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, ‘Windows Open Simultaneously (First Part, Third Motif)’ by Robert Delaunay

Vayetze 5775: Messengers among Us

Posted on: November 27th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

WOW Kislev Carla at KotelIs it possible to recognize an angel, a messenger of G-d? How would I know? Angels appear at the beginning and the end of this week’s Torah portion, Vayetze, first in Jacob’s dream of a stairway from heaven to earth, then as Jacob and Laban part ways. This meditation asks if we are capable of seeing angels and greeting them with curiosity and wonder whether or not they conform to any expected vision. It includes a not-so-subtle question to those who assail the dedication and joy of women who take on the mitzvah of t’fillin: what if they are also messengers of G-d?

Messengers among Us
What if angels appeared at your door?
Would you recognize them?
Invite them in?
Feed them or wash their feet?
Would you listen to their wisdom
Or laugh at their words?

What if G-d’s messengers
Shaved their beards,
Took off their kippot,
Or wore the clothing of beggars?
Could you see them?
Can you see holiness in the unexpected?
What if angels appeared at your door?

What if G-d’s messengers
Were women in talitot and t’fillin
Singing freely, full voiced, Shema Yisroel,
Chanting the Torah of our people?
Could you hear them?
Can you hear holiness in joyous song?
What if angels appeared at your door?

G-d of ancient vision,
G-d of modern voice,
Open the eyes of our people
To see holiness and love in one another,
To receive the messengers among us
With joy and gratitude.

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

Postscript: This prayer reflects my support for women’s prayer at the Kotel. It’s a thank you for the inspiration to begin to explore my own commitment to the mitzvah of t’fillin, which I wrote about in the Times of Israel. The photo is from the Women of the Wall Facebook page. Here’s a link to my Vayetze 5773 selection, “A Moment of Love.” Here’s a related prayer called “Messengers,” which I posted for Vayeira 5773.

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

Photo Source: Women of the Wall Facebook Page/Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5775

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