Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

 

Source of Bread

Posted on: September 13th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on physical and spiritual sustenance, and the power of blessing to summon a connection to the divine.

Source of Bread
What is bread
Without a blessing?
It feeds the body
But not the soul.
Let sustenance lead me
To You.

What is water
Without a blessing?
It quenches the thirst
But not the yearning.
Let sustenance lead me
To You.

Let life flow with bread and water,
With milk and honey,
With bounty and plenty for all.
Let no one go hungry,
Not for food,
Not for You
Source of life,
Not for You
Source of all.

© 2020 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.

Photo Source: Quora

Assembly

Posted on: September 3rd, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This prayer is the result of spending nearly two months studying the High Holidays machzor in preparation for teaching my “Mysteries of the Machzor” series. I’ve added references to the texts quoted from Leviticus, Numbers, and Jeremiah. I didn’t select the obvious source text for the second stanza, Exodus 19:6, because the verse from Leviticus adds another layer of meaning.

Assembly
When the children of Israel
Assemble before You
In holy convocation,
We assert the covenant,
The promises You made
To our ancestors.
We claim the right
To forgiveness.
.וַיֹּאמֶר ה’, סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶךָ
Vayomer Adonai, selachti kidvarecha.
And Adonai said, ‘I forgive, as you have asked.’ (Num. 14:20)

When the children of Israel
Assemble before each other
In holy convocation,
We assert our kinship,
The solidarity we have
With our heritage.
We claim the responsibility
To be a nation of priests.
.וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ
V’amarta aleihem, kedoshim tihyu.
Say to them, you shall be holy. (Lev. 19:2)

When God’s love
And God’s mercy
Join our holy convocation,
In breaths,
In whispers
And in blasts of the shofar,
Holiness and forgiveness,
Repentance and love,
Become One.

:’כִּי כֹה אָמַר ה
.וִהְיִיתֶם לִי לְעָם, וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים
Ki koh amar Adonnai:
V’hayitem li l’am, v’Anochi Ehyeh lechem laylohim.
For Adonai says:
And you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Jer. 30:12,22)

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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.

Sowing Light: A Prayer/Poem Inspired by Text

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This prayer/poem is inspired by Psalm 97, recited at Kabbalat Shabbat. The Psalm ends with this: “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart…” (Psalm 97:11-12) What if, in the tradition of the rabbis, we changed one word to reexplore the meaning? Instead of “…for the righteous…” use “…by the righteous…” This prayer reimagines the closing couplet after changing that one word. Join me on Ritualwell for a four-week immersion class on Writing from Sacred Text.

Sowing Light
Light is sown by the righteous,
Tucked into cracks in the sidewalks,
Dropped in the grass,
Breathed into the air,
Left waiting for others to find.

You who are upright in heart,
Let your deeds declare your love,
Let your hands be a source of healing,
Let your joy be a fountain of blessing.

Rejoice in righteousness,
And spread holiness throughout your days.
Light is sown for you
To magnify in service to G-d’s holy name.

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

Postscript: Midrash Psalms 97:2 interprets the line to mean that a great spiritual light, created at the beginning of all things, was set aside by G-d for the righteous as their reward at the end of days. As a result, Siddur Sim Shalom breaks with the classic translation – the translation found in both Mishkan T’fillah and the Koren Sacks Siddur – by rendering the line as “Light is stored for the righteous…” This prayer appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

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: Selma in the City

Show Me

Posted on: July 24th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

What does G-d want from us? Our service to Torah, mitzvot and tikun olam. These actions are a source of holiness and love. Thank you to Joanne Fink and Zenspirations for use of the illustration.

Show Me
Show me the works of your hands
And the deeds of your heart
And I will cause holiness
To pass through you
Like the wind through the trees
Summoning your soul
To mingle with Mine.

Set your mind to all
That is kind and just,
Compassionate and good.

Set your hand to all
That is right and true,
Charitable and healing.

Incline your heart to all
That is righteous and holy,
Glorious and full of wonder.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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.

Photo Source: Zenspirations by Joanne Fink

Before Writing a Prayer

Posted on: June 17th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

Here’s a prayer to be said before writing a prayer. The intention of the prayer is to achieve the kavanah, the spiritual mindset, necessary to serve G-d by writing a prayer. Join me this summer for a five-week online workshop, “Ingredients of Prayer: Writing Contemporary Liturgy” hosted by Ritualwell.

Before Writing a Prayer
Ancient One,
Rock of Israel,
With joy and with gratitude,
With humility and love,
I approach the sacred work
Of putting voice to Your people’s prayers.

Only You know the depth of our love,
The sound of our yearning,
The music of longing,
The song of our hope,
And the thunder in our grief.

G-d of Old,
Give me the words that will open
Your People’s hearts to You,
The words that will open
Our hearts to each other,
The words that will open
Our hearts to healing the world.
And give me the words,
Holy One,
That will open Your heart
To us.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com

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Postscript: Please consider joining me for my online workshop, “Ingredients of Prayer: Writing Contemporary Liturgy” Here’s a prayer to be said “After Writing a Prayer.”

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: Living a Life of Writing

 

Return Us to You

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A prayer in praise and thanksgiving for the ark and it’s holy contents. See also, “Ki Mi’Tzion.”

Return Us to You
Open,
Gateway to holiness!
Open your mysteries and secrets
To a world yearning for truth.
Open your doors to Torah,
To sacred wisdom,
Invite the generations to enter.

עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה, ותמכיה מאשר  
Eitz chayim hi lamachazikim bah, v’tom’cheha m’ushar.
It is a tree of life for those who cling to it, and those who uphold it are happy.

For Torah is the keeper
Of ancient blessings,
Of timeless wisdom,
The foundation of faith,
The essence of One,
The rhythm of time,
And the glory of our lives.

דרכיה דרכי נעם וכל נתיבותיה שלום
D’racheha darchei noam v’chol n’tivoteha shalom.
It ways are pleasant, and all its paths are peace.

Open,
Gateway to holiness!
The splendor of the beginning.
The radiance of the ending.
The way of our ancestors
And the entrance to our hearts.

השיבנו ה’ אליך ונשובה. חדש ימינו כקדם
Hashivenu Adonai eilecha v’nashuva. Chadesh yameinu k’kedem.
Return us to you, G-d, so that we shall return. Renew our days as of old.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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.

Photo Source: ZionTalis Judaica

Ki Mi’Tzion

Posted on: January 10th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This is a meditation to be said before removing the Torah from the ark. It appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Ki Mi’Tzion
Let Torah pour forth
From Jerusalem and Zion.
Let Torah pour forth
From our hearts and our hands.
Let Torah pour forth
From our words and our deeds.
Torah is our light and our salvation.
Torah is our protection and our hope.
And G-d will be with us,
And G-d will bless us,
As Torah lights our way.

כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה
וּדְבַר יי מִירוּשָׁלָֽיִם
Ki miTziyon teitzei Torah,
Ud’var Adonai mi’Y’rushalayim.
For out of Zion will come the Torah,
And the word of Adonai from Jerusalem.

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

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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.

Photo Source: Scrolls for All

Two Ravens

Posted on: January 6th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This is the first of what will certainly be several new pieces inspired by my renewed learning at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. The idea that the raven Noah sent from the ark after the flood foreshadowed ravens feeding the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:4) came up in Rabbi Meir Schweiger‘s Tanach class. The timing was uncanny. At the time I was enjoying The Key of Rain, co-authored by my teacher Rav Mike Feuer, which uses that prophecy in the story. Meanwhile, my Rambam class, taught by Rabbi Levi Cooper, was learning Hilchot Yesodi HaTorah on prophecy. The final stanza of this piece alludes to Masechet Brachot Mishna 1:1 from my class with Raḥel Berkovits.

Two Ravens
Two ravens
Flying over the hills
Can be seen
As messengers of G-d
If you look
With prophet’s eyes.

A fox
Scavenging in the Temple ruins
Can be seen
As a sign of redemption
If you look
With sage’s eyes.

You children of Israel,
Awake!
You are surrounded by mysteries,
Bathed in holiness,
The light bursting freely from ancient wisdom.
If only you would look with your heart.
If only you would see with your soul.
Then, the secrets of gratitude and wonder
Would dance with you
Like wedding guests
Yearning for communion
With G-d’s Holy Word.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript:  This piece comes as a bit of a surprise, inasmuch as it reflects a synthesis of learning from multiple teachers from materials both in and out of class. In the past, my experience of being inspired by Jewish learning has been that one class meeting can (but doesn’t necessarily) lead to one new idea and one new prayer.

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 Key of Rain, cover illustration used with permission

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

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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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.

Photo Source: The Poached Egg

Who is Like You

Posted on: December 6th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on the greatness of God, to be read before singing Mi Chamocha, a line declaring God’s greatness from the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:11) often chanted in Jewish prayer. This piece appears in my new book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

Who is Like You
Who is like You,
God of mystery and majesty,
Distant and present,
Thundering and quiet,
The beginning and the end,
The atom and the cosmos,
The darkness and the light,
The One and the All,
Pillar and foundation,
Artist of sea and sky,
Author of the miraculous and the mundane,
Source of life,
Blessing and sustaining creation.

Who is like You,
Glorious in holiness,
To whom we praise,
To whom we give thanks,
The God who redeemed us from Egypt,
The God who parted the sea,
The God to whom Miriam and Moses
Led us in song.

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

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Postscript: Here’s a link to “Peace Will Come,” which will also appear in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

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: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Twitter feed

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