Posts Tagged ‘healing the world’

 

The Axis of Healing

Posted on: August 30th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A new meditation on the source of healing — the light that shines from your own heart — posted as gift on this Shabbat for a world in need of healing. See also: “The Cut that Heals” and “For an Open Heart.”

The Axis of Healing
Your heart is the axis of healing,
Drawing passion and fire
From the hot core of the earth,
Drawing energy and possibility
From the pulsing edge of the universe,
Drawing light from the shadows
And the secret brilliance that surrounds us,
So that your mind is clear,
And your body radiates love.

Your heart is the axis of healing,
Drawing empathy
From the pain of others,
Drawing inspiration
When you witness sorrow
Transformed into hope,
So that your deeds are pure,
Your hands strong and tender,
And your life becomes the medicine
That heals the world.

© 2019 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.

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Ki Teitzei 5775: Amalek Within

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Remember AmalekAmalek is the arch-villain of Torah. This week’s portion, Ki Teitzei, refers to an incident in Exodus just after the people crossed the Red Sea. The army of Amalek attacked Israel from behind, where the old and weak straggled. Here in Deuteronomy (25:17-19) we’re told: i) to remember the evil Amalek perpetrated, ii) to wipe out his descendants and iii) to blot out his name. The three paragraphs of this prayer correspond to these three commandments.

Amalek Within
We remember
The day you set upon us from behind.
The day you attacked
The weak, the faint, the exhausted and defenseless.
We remember your savagery and your glee,
Your malice and ruthless intent.
We remember the fear, the horror,
The shrieks and the cries.

Villain, coward,
Where do you hide?
Scattered among the nations?
Or have you quietly, secretly,
Infiltrated our lives,
Hardening our hearts to one another?
Children of Israel,
Each man, each woman,
Banish Amalek from within,
And he will be destroyed forever.

When we remember,
To love and to cherish,
To build and preserve,
To walk in the way of G-d,
Then this name,
This Amalek,
Will be blotted forever
From the face of the earth.
When we remember
The pain and suffering of others,
When we exile wickedness from our hearts,
Evil will disappear forever.
We will not forget.

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

Postscript: According to Targum, descendants of Amalek survived – among them Haman from the Book of Esther – and the remnant is dispersed among the nations, unrecognizable. The second paragraph of this prayer interprets the command to wipe about Amalek according to our sages who teach that part of Amalek can be found in each of us as the evil inclination.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “When we walk in the way of G-d, Amalek will be blotted forever…” Ki Teitzei prayer from @ToBendLight: http://ctt.ec/rXzNO+

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Shofetim: To the Streets

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

social_justiceOne of Torah’s famous instructions appears in this week’s parsha: “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue…” (Deut. 16:20) The context is establishing a legal system, but our ethos interprets it broadly as a call for justice in all areas of daily life. This prayer is a call to leave the safety and cloister of our institutions, to go into the streets to learn from the anguish of all people. The last two stanzas include in [brackets] alternative language to Hebrew terms.

To the Streets, Revised
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you seen, for yourself, the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of teens who starve their bodies and cut their limbs.
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?
Have you witnessed the violence and oppression
That divides us?
Of youths arrested for their color.
Of gangs and police waging war.
Of drugs and weapons in homes and schools.

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief,
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash [parables] to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah [lessons] to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar [ethics] to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch [religious rulings] to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah [scripture] and Mitzvot [commandments]
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heeding Your holy call to tikun olam [repair the world].

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

Postscript: Written as a Passover appeal for social justice, this would also serve as an alternative Yom Kippur reading, perhaps in conjunction with the Unataneh Tokef. Here’s a link to other prayers for social justice. Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover. This is an update to the original prayer, first posted April 3, 2014.

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: Progressive Charlestown

To the Streets, Revised

Posted on: November 25th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

social_justiceThis is a call to leaders to leave the safety and cloister of their institutions, to go into the streets to learn from the anguish of all people. Written as a Passover appeal for social justice, I’ve expanded the first stanza to recognize issues reflected and highlighted by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Miss., and in the aftermath. In the last two stanzas, I’ve also added alternative language to Hebrew terms in [brackets] to make the prayer more accessible.

To the Streets, Revised
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you witnessed the violence and oppression
That divides us?
Of youths arrested for their color.
Of gangs and police waging war.
Of drugs and weapons in homes and schools.
Have you seen, for yourself, the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of teens who starve their bodies and cut their limbs.
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash [parables] to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah [lessons] to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar [ethics] to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch [religious rulings] to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah [scripture] and Mitzvot [commandments]
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heading Your holy call to Tikun Olam [repair the world].

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to other prayers for social justice. Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover. Here’s a link to the original prayer, posted April 3, 2014.

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: Progressive Charlestown

Noach: Always this Wonder

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Three_children_play_in_a_lagoon_formed_from_high_tide_on_Morro_Strand_State_Beach_at_sunsetThis is a prayer that our children remember pure joy of laughter and play. It’s a prayer that we remember our own innocence and love. After Noah saw the sea consume the world, he appears to have fallen into a major depression that he attempted to cure with alcohol, a post-traumatic response. The sea became a weapon. He lost sight of the ocean of beauty within. This is a prayer to hold onto enthusiasm for life. Here’s another Noach prayer called “The Flood.”

Always this Wonder
Dear children,
Go outside to play –
In the sunshine and the breeze –
And we will bless your hearts,
Your precious laughter,
Your smiles and your freedom.

Run wild…
Skip…
Twirl…
And we will pray that you remember
Always this wonder.
Then, we’ll remember our own
Care free days,
Our own discovery,
Our own amazement,
Our own joyous hearts.
And you will bless us
With the secret and the power
To discover sacred wisdom
And the sea of happiness,
The sea of joy,
The sea of love,
Waiting within.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to a prayer for Parashat Breisheit, “About the Rainbow,” which could easily be used for Noach.

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 CommonsMichael “Mike” L. Baird

Fire and Water

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by Alden No Comments

SunsetLove and despair can be like fire. Truth can be like water, keeping the fires that fuel our emotions – the passions that make us human – in the proper balance. This is a quick meditation on love, despair and truth.

Fire and Water
One day
The fire of despair
Will sear your aching heart.
And when you wake
From this dream of death
You will feel a vital new organ
Beating in your chest.

G-d of Old,
Let the fires of grief
Lift me toward You.

One day
The fire of love
Will sear your longing eyes.
And when you wake
From this dream of life
You will see a vital new light
Shining from your face.

G-d of Old,
Let the fires of joy
Lift me toward You.

One day
The still waters of truth
Will sooth your yearning soul.
And when you enter G-d’s word
You will surrender to awe and majesty,
Holiness will fill your hands
With righteousness and charity,
Hope and peace will follow in your path.
And your life will shimmer with holiness.

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

Postscript: See also “The Cut that Heals” and “Witnessing: A Meditation,” as well as “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger,” “Shame.” Please take a moment to learn about my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

Simple Prayer for Healing, Revised

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

800px-Brilliant_red_sunset_reflecting_off_the_frozen_tundra_-_NOAAThis prayer is basic, direct, to the point. Heal and comfort those in need. And heal the world of suffering and strife. It’s a prayer for moments when less is more.  Like now. This will appear in my forthcoming book, Prayers for Healing the World. I added the third stanza this morning.

Simple Prayer for Healing, Revised
G-d, grant Your healing power
To all in need,
Those of whom I know,
______________ [list names]
And those unknown to me.

G-d, grant Your comfort and consolation
To all who grieve,
Those of whom I know,
______________ [list names]
And those unknown to me.

Holy One,
Bring a swift end to suffering and strife,
And the heal the world
With Your steadfast love.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d,
Ruler of the universe,
Who lifts up the fallen.

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

Postscript: The war touches everything here. Which is why I added the third stanza. Here are prayers for “R’fuat HaNefesh” and “For Healing the Spirit.” Please check out my new book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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: WikiMedia Commons

Noach: The Flood

Posted on: October 14th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

img_0716What flood — what flood of emotion, of grief, of tragedy, of fire or water — tore through your life? Was there a lifeboat? A meditation inspired by the parasha.

The Flood
The flood that tore
Through our lives
Rushed in without remorse
Churning indiscriminate,
Random with wreckage.

We who survived
Gasped naked in the waters
Cold and alone.
We fought the raging sea.
We wrestled the torrent,
The wind,
The darkness
And our aching hearts.

When the rain ceased
And calm eased in
We drifted on the water
Numb to radiant sunrises
And luminous skies.
Until, one day,
We began to swim east
Toward holiness
And the new day.
Weary, faint,
Nearly too tired to press on,
We looked up,
Exhausted,
And saw an Ark
Floating gently on the horizon.

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

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.n.

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 Credit: PoundsGate

The Cut that Heals

Posted on: September 15th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

healings-hands-heart By Marie FinneganIn the Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall, on a sunny, breezy, Jerusalem afternoon, I saw a young woman wearing a deep blue shoulderless top reading an Israel guide book. She had dark hair, a lovely face with high cheekbones and eyes that matched her blouse. Her arms – from wrist to mid-bicep, all around – were covered with scars. She appeared to be a cutter, wearing openly the marks of her pain. She laughed with a friend as they planned their next adventure. The pain she made manifest on her body seemed completely absent in her manner. I left with the vision of a lovely woman barely in her 20’s, who had been through some sort of hell, enjoying a beautiful day. This is what I wrote.

The Cut that Heals
What if I opened my heart
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Joy with beauty with love?

Yes, my child,
You would overflow
With radiance and splendor,
With wonder and thanksgiving.

What if I opened my eyes
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Grief with loss with desolation?

No, my child,
You would overflow
With kindness and grace,
With awe and compassion.

What if I opened my hands
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I drown in the work of repairing the world
In the depths of need and despair?

No, my child,
You would rise up
With strength and wisdom
A well of mercy,
A beacon of light at the gates of healing.

Soul of the Universe,
I put my trust in You.
Open my heart and my eyes,
Open my hands and my life,
To the fullness of glory
And the mystery of creation,
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation.
Lead me on the path of service
To Your Word and Your world.

Remember this, dear ones:
Love and loss are the same gift.
Grief and joy the same cloth.
Faith and doubt the same path.
The cut that wounds
Is the cut that heals.
When you rise up, renewed,
Tears and laughter will
Meet in the core of your being.
Grace and mercy will flow through you like water.
You will be a fountain of blessings,
A source of righteousness and charity,
And you will sing humble praises
To G-d’s holy name.

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

Postscript: Here is “Cutting, Prayer to End Self-Mutilation” and a prayer called “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

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 Credit: Healing Hands, Healing Heart by Marie Finnegan on Metta Refuge

Planting Seeds

Posted on: June 13th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

This prayer recognizes that everything we do has the potential to heal or to harm. So we ask for G-d’s help to plant seeds of holiness with each word, each act, each deed.

Planting Seeds
Every act is a seed:
Every laugh, every smile.
Every song, every dance.
Every outstretched arm
And every open heart.
A seed of holiness.
A seed of redemption.
A seed of grace.

Every act is a seed:
Every frown, every angry word.
Every dislike, every distain.
Every closed fist,
And every hardened heart.
A seed of loneliness.
A seed of isolation.
A seed of despair.

How many seeds have I planted,
G-d of Old,
Seeds that hurt,
Seeds that heal?
How many seeds have I yet to plant,
Seeds that hurt,
Seeds that heal?

Ancient One,
Grant me the discernment
And the skill
To plant seeds of wonder and awe
In my life and the world.
Let me be a source of wholeness,
Let me be a source of thanksgiving,
So that my life yields
A garden of blessings
In service to Your Holy Name.

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

Postscript: Here are several other prayers that use the ‘seeds’ metaphor: “Messengers,” “For New Love” and “I Am a King: A Meditation for Men.” Here are prayers that employ a ‘garden’ metaphor: “Life as a Garden,” “Garden of Blessings,” “For Spring,” “Meditation on a Child’s First Torah Reading” and “For Rain.”

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