Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

 

Beauty Dances

Posted on: October 9th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

sukkotThis is a Sukkot prayer about the beauty that arrives with this festival of joy, and the call to bring that beauty into the world. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

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 appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim.

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

Simchat Torah Prayers

Posted on: October 9th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Hebrew_Sefer_Torah_scrollStories and prayers for Simchat Torah, when Jews all over the world rejoice in the gift of the Torah. Here are three short, short stories and several prayers about Torah and Torah scholarship:

Stories

On Torah

Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim. Here are focused lists of prayers for Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Simchat Torah. And here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Sukkot Prayers

Posted on: October 1st, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

IMG_6231Here’s a list of prayers for Sukkot with brief descriptions, divided by topic: “Joy,” “Harvest Season” and “Sukkah: Physical home, Spiritual home.” To read a prayer, click on the title. If you read only one of them, go for “Beauty Dances,” but this is a lovely list. Try a few. Here are prayers for Simchat Torah.

Joy
Sukkot is z’man simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing:

  • Rejoice! – A prayer/poem about embodying joy
  • For Joy – About finding joy in the face of loss
  • Let Joy – Awake to the joy around you

Harvest Season
Prayers of thanks for G-d’s gifts:

Sukkah: Physical Home, Spiritual Home
Prayers about the meaning of home:

Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim. Here’s a focused list of prayers for Elul, another one of prayers for Rosh Hashana and one of prayers for Yom Kippur. And here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

Click here to tweet this: Beautiful! Prayers and meditations for Sukkot from @ToBendLight https://tobendlight.com/?p=4167

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; this was my 5774 (2013) Sukkah.

Small Moments

Posted on: July 28th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

compassion-2This prayer is about seeking the smallest moments of beauty and compassion. When we seek compassion, our souls bonds with the idea that it is an essential human quality. The prayer was written, in part, as an antidote to another of my prayers, a challenging piece called “Witnessing: A Meditation.” To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

Small Moments
Have you seen the secret nod of understanding between old friends?
Or the first wobbly steps of a child?
Have you heard an old man sigh as he sits down in a chair?
Have you captured, from the corner of your eye,
An act of gentle sweetness,
A fleeting gesture nearly missed as you rushed by?

Listen and hear.
Look and see.
Touch and feel.
Breath and smell.
Taste and remember.

Do you recall the radiance of sunrise?
Or the brilliance of the full moon?
Do you savor the small moments
Of joy and wonder bursting forth around you?
Do you notice the gifts of friendship, kindness and love?
If you do, bless you.
If you don’t, these blessings await you.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d,
Source of daily splendor,
You gave us vision and understanding
So that we can witness and celebrate
Acts of generous spirit,
Expressions of compassion and healing,
The tiniest gestures of holiness and love.
Open our hearts to the precious glories of our days.

Blessed are You, Holy One of Old,
Beauty abounds.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: I use this prayer for the 20th day of counting the Omer: “Bonding in Compassion.”

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: Good Life Zen

On Connecting With Old Friends

Posted on: June 25th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

I wrote this prayer last year when Stephen found me online, 35 years or so after we went to Israel together on an AZYF trip. Here in Israel, I’m seeing old and new friends, many who’ve come into my life — or back into my life — via cyberspace. Earlier this week I spent a day with Eric, a friend from that same trip to Israel 35 years ago. Here’s a prayer for connecting with old friends. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below (website only). The text follows.

On Connecting With Old Friends
Fantastic. Amazing. Wonderful.
Frightening. Adventurous. Astounding.
My dear friend
(Add Name) ______________________________________
Has returned to my life after [years][decades][an eternity]
Of time and distance.
Help me to see the gifts we bring to each other –
The stories, the history, the moments of joy and companionship,
The challenges, the losses, the moments of pain and sorrow –
As a source of Your Divine wisdom and love.

Why now?
What lessons are here for me?
What memories will come galloping back into my heart?

G-d of mystery and wonder,
Grant me the wisdom to listen to this messenger of friendship and love.
Make this a moment of gentleness and understanding,
A moment of grace and forgiveness,
So that our lives are renewed to each other
In joy and thanksgiving.
May this reunion be a blessing to us both.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a traveler’s prayer that also celebrates the people we meet along the way: “On the Road.”

Please use these prayers. See “Share the Prayer!” in the right hand column. For notices of new prayers posted here, please subscribe. To read four to six mini-prayers each week, as well as notices of new prayers posted to the site, please join the To Bend Light fan page on Facebook.

Offerings

Posted on: May 22nd, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

hope-hebrew-t-shirt_designIn this simple set of rhythmic, parallel verses we affirm the connection between G-d’s gifts and our responses. The result is hope for a lasting dialogue with G-d. In communal worship this can be used as a congregational mediation or it can be read responsively. I use this prayer during week five of counting the Omer. It appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

Offerings
When G-d offers love, I offer my heart.
When G-d offers wisdom, I offer my mind.

When G-d offers beauty, I offer my senses.
When G-d offers silence, I offer my patience.

When G-d offers challenge, I offer my strength.
When G-d offers trial, I offer my faith.

When G-d offers pain, I offer my dignity.
When G-d offers fear, I offer my courage.

When G-d offers grief, I offer my endurance.
When G-d offers shame, I offer my amends.

When G-d offers death, I offer my mourning.
When G-d offers life, I offer my rejoicing.

When G-d offers joy, I offer my thanksgiving.
When G-d offers awe, I offer my wonder.

When G-d offers righteousness, I offer my blessings.
When G-d offers holiness, I offer my praise.

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

Postscript: Other prayers about G-d’s gifts include: “This Bounty,” “These Blessings” and “In Plain Sight.” This “Meditation After the Yom Kippur Vidui” is also about offering ourselves in service to G-d.

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: The Word in Hebrew

Hershal Dovid: A Torah Reading Story

Posted on: May 12th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

backlittorahThis 131-word story is about the joy of reading Torah. The story is named for my cousin Jon’s oldest son, David. I got the idea after attending his Bar Mitzvah. It’s similar in theme and texture to two other short, short stories: “Mendel Baruch” and “Motyl the Fool.” To listen, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

 

Hershal Dovid : A Torah Reading Story
When Hershal Dovid stepped up to read Torah for the first time, when he walked up to the bimah and took his place on the pulpit, when he held the yad in his hand and pointed it at the Sacred Scroll, the parchment gleamed before his very eyes. Hershal’s body began to tremble, his heart filled with a luminous flow of holy light, his voice filled with the radiance of Divine gifts. As he chanted in perfect pitch, in perfect cadence, with perfect inflection, the Torah itself joined in the song. Hershal Dovid and the Word of G-d sang a duet of everlasting love, of everlasting devotion, the song of the ancient and the new, of the finite and the infinite, of our longing for G-d, of G-d’s longing for us.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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

Photo Source: Judea Reform Congregation

For New Love

Posted on: April 24th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

SONY DSCThis prayer is to be recited by an individual after recognizing the beginning of romantic love. It recognizes the strength and fragility of a new relationship. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

For New Love
G-d of mystery and majesty,
Creator of redemption and hope,
I give thanks for the gift of new love.
Grant me the gentleness and courage,
The bravery and patience,
To let this love unfold like a flower,
A source of wonder and beauty
To be nurtured, blessed, praised and cherished
For what it is in this moment:
A seed with tiny imperceptible roots
And the beginning of a fragile stem hidden within.
It may take hold – and this would be beautiful –
Or it may wash away, which is the nature of some things.
This seed has so much energy,
So much G-d given yearning for life,
Yearning to hold fast in the cradle of earth,
Yearning to reach for warmth and light,
That it may yield a meadow,
A sea of wild flowers,
Perhaps fragile,
Perhaps sturdy,
Always seeking light and air and earth.
Or it may disappear in the wind.

Heavenly source of radiance and splendor,
Let this new love be a blessing.
Give it strong roots to stay planted firmly against the elements
And a hearty stalk to bend gracefully with the seasons.
You who know the deepest mysteries of the heart,
May our moments together yield blessings for us
And for everyone we meet.

Blessed are You,
Source of blessing and love.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: In case you were wondering, there’s no particular significance to my posting this prayer now. One day I’ll use it. Not today. My other prayers about love include: “Let Love,” “The Cut That Heals,” “To Seek Your Love” and “A Heart of Love.”

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: Alden Solovy

Breaking Bonds

Posted on: April 18th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

passover-sader-plate-fd-lgHere’s another Passover prayer, written Erev Pesach 5771. It’s about breaking free from the chains that I’ve locked around myself. As such, the theme parallels “Egypt Inside,” although this piece follows a standard rhythmic structure, while “Egypt Inside” is a meditation set as prose poetry.

Breaking Bonds
To break the bonds of anger,
To live with gentle pride.

To break the bonds of shame,
To live with humble strength.

To break the bonds of envy,
To serve each other in joy.

To break the bonds of guilt,
To accept all G-d’s gifts.

To break the bonds of fear,
To love with fullness of heart.

To break the bonds of lust,
To love with fullness of being.

To break the bonds of loneliness,
To receive a hand of hope.

To break the bonds of neglect,
To reach out a hand of help.

To break the bond of tears,
To see with awe and wonder.

To break the bonds of loss,
To rejoice in all G-d’s works.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Click here for an annotated list of all of my Passover prayers, with links. This is the first prayer that I’ve written specifically to be used as a responsive reading.

If you use this prayer, please click “like” on this page and subscribe. Please take a moment to post a link to your Facebook page, your blog or mention it in a tweet. Thanks. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!

Photo Credit: What’s On Karen’s Plate

Sing Hallelujah

Posted on: April 9th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

To sing as an expression of G-d’s love and G-d’s gifts, that is to Sing Hallelujah. This and a companion prayer, “Dance Hallelujah,” would fit well into the Hallel section of your Passover Seder. To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

Sing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
A hymn of glory,
A chant of praise,
A song of thanksgiving.
Voices raised, hearts to heaven.
Lungs full and strong.
A breath, a note, a lyric, a tune.
A call of love,
An echo of truth,
Resounding with joy and praise.

Let my hopes carry me toward wondrous deeds.
Let my heart lift me toward sacred wisdom.
Let my breath lead me to majestic truth.
Let my words exalt Your Holy Name.

Hallelujah
A song of hope,
A harmony of justice,
A chorus of mercy.

G-d of Miriam,
Prophet who danced by the sea,
Teach me the song of life,
Of dedication and zeal,
Of wonder and glory.
Teach me to sing my Hallelujah.
Teach me to live my Hallelujah.
A song of righteousness.
A song of thanksgiving.
A song for the generations.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are links to related prayers: “For the Gift of Song,” “For the Gift of Dance” and “For the Gift of Music.” Please take a look at my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Click here for a list of prayers that would make lovely additions to a Seder.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

“Alden left everyone feeling inspired.” – Cantor Jeri Robins, Shabbat Chair, NewCAJE6