Posts Tagged ‘holy day’

 

Shabbat Prayers and Stories

Posted on: July 7th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

KabbalatShabbat1In Israel, Shabbat sparkles. Here’s an annotated list of my prayers, blessings and stories with Shabbat as the central theme. My (current) favorites are “Come, Beloved” and “Shabbat Settles on Jerusalem.”

Prayers:

Blessings:

Stories:

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

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Photo credit: The Little Minyan

Shavuot Prayers and Stories

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

ShavuotPrayers and stories for Shavuot. To read them, click on the name of the prayer.

Learning and Loving Torah

Holiness and Our Relationship with G-d

Short stories about the love of Torah

And a  prayer about Counting the Omer: “The Season of Counting.”

During the seven weeks from Passover to Shavuot, the period from the exodus to revelation on Sinai, Jews count the days and the weeks. And so we remember the journey from the depths of slavery to the heights of G-d’s Holy Presence. According to mystical practice, each week has a theme (and each day a sub-theme) that leads us to revelation. Here are links to prayers and meditations for each week of Counting the Omer:

  • Week One: Chesed (Lovingkindness, Love, Benevolence)
  • Week Two: Gevurah (Discipline, Justice, Restraint, Awe)
  • Week Three: Tiferet (Beauty, Harmony, Compassion, Truth)
  • Week Four: Netzach (Eternity, Endurance, Fortitude, Ambition)
  • Week Five: Hod (Humility, Splendor)
  • Week Six: Yesod  (Foundation, Bonding)
  • Week Seven: Malchut – Nobility, Sovereignty, Leadership)

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Photo Source: Congregation Or Chadash

After the Horror

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

YomHaShoahCandleThis prayer can be used as part of a liturgy for Yom HaShoah, specifically for reclaiming life in the shadow of death. Since the wording is general, it can also be used as a meditation after any event in which many die and others live. Another prayer in my Yom Hashoah liturgy is called “Tears of Crystal, Tears of Broken Glass,” calling on the imagery of Kristallnacht. Click here for the entire Yom HaShoah liturgy. To listen while you read, please click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

After the Horror
Hold fast to the breath of life.
Hold fast to the song of life.
Hold fast to the soul of life.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As survivor, as witness, as a voice of history and truth.
Why else did I live when so many died?
Why else do I stand when so many were put to rest?
Why else do I hope and yearn when so many were silenced?

Hold fast to awe and wonder.
Hold fast to radiance and light.
Hold fast to mystery and majesty.

This is my sacred duty, G-d of old,
As mourner, as testimony to horror and destruction.
What else remains? What else endures?
What more can You ask of me,
But to choose life in the shadow of death?

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

Postscript: After the attacks in Toulouse, France, I wrote “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism: A Yizkor Prayer.” Yom HaShoah also reminds me of my gratitude and love for Israel, reflected in this piece, “Israel: A Meditation,” which is also part of my Yom HaShoah liturgy.

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

Photo Credit: Highland Park Conservative Temple

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.

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Photo Credit: What’s On Karen’s Plate

Passover Prayers

Posted on: April 2nd, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

matzah-560x420Here’s a list of my prayers that would make lovely additions to your Passover Seder, divided into four categories: prayers about freedom, prayers for social justice, prayers for Hallel and Counting the Omer. Many of them appear in Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings. Some appear in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. To read them, click on the name of the prayer:

Prayers About Freedom
Egypt Inside – About personal freedom
Breaking Bonds – Setting ourselves free
The Season of Freedom – A time to be free
Release Me – Freedom from emotions that hold me back
Elijah – Our deepest yearning for a world of wholeness

Prayers for Social Justice
To The Streets – About taking tikun olam to the streets
Against Human Trafficking – For modern-day slaves
Against Tyranny – For an end to the rule of tyrants
Against Poverty – For all to live in economic well-being
Against Worker Exploitation – For fair wages and conditions
Against Hunger – To feed the world
For Women of Congo and Sudan – Against the abuse of these women

Prayers for Hallel
Dance Hallelujah – To dance in praise of G-d
Sing Hallelujah – To sing in praise of G-d
In Praise – To speak in praise of G-d

Counting the Omer and Other Topics
The Season of Counting – About the meaning of counting
For Spring – For the new season
History – About the gifts of memory and history
Jerusalem: A Meditation – “Next year in Jerusalem!”

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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.

History

Posted on: January 23rd, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

World MapThis prayer celebrates the gifts of history and memory. To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

History
History is sacred,
Memory is holy,
Time is a blessing,
Truth is a lantern.

Source of sacred moments,
Creator of time and space,
Teacher, healer and guide:
Thank you for the gift of memory,
The gift that allows us to see beyond the present,
The gift that allows us to remember our past,
And to remember our lives.

Thank you for the gift of vision,
The gift that allows us to imagine the future,
The gift that allows us to learn and to teach
The lessons of the ages,
The lessons of millennia,
So that we may heal ourselves and the world.

Eternal G-d,
Thank you for the gift of history,
The gift of ancient moments and modern tales.
Grant us the wisdom and understanding to see history in the light of truth,
To trust the enduring power of memory to guide us from generation to generation.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to a prayer called “Remember,” as well as links to a trilogy of prayers called “Leaving,” “Arriving” and “Now.”

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Photo Source: UT Arlington Library

The Season of Dedication

Posted on: December 1st, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Hanukkah Menorah 1When I was a boy, the central miracle of Hanukkah didn’t impress me. One day’s worth of oil burned for eight days. A miracle, sure, but after everything G-d did for us in the desert, it didn’t seem so big of a miracle. I was more impressed with the desire of the Maccabees to preserve our faith, to rededicate the Temple, to restore it as a place of holiness. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows. This prayer will appear in my forthcoming book, “This Grateful Heart” from CCAR Press.

 

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.

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

Postscript: This 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 Healing” and “The Season of Return.”

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. Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: Jerusalem Baskets

The Season of Return

Posted on: September 12th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Another prayer for the journey of return and repentance, the journey of t’shuva. The prayer refers to a mystical name for the Holy One, Ein Sof.  To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

The Season of Return
This is the season of return:
Of returning to ourselves and our people,
Of returning to our G-d
And returning to our calling.

This is the season of quiet:
Of quieting the mind to hear the Voice,
Of quieting the heart to hear the Soul,
Of quieting the self to make space for the Ein Sof.

This is the season of surrender:
Of surrendering fear and despair to hope and adventure,
Of surrendering odd quirks and old habits to dignity and kindness,
And to honor and service.

This is the season of return:
Of returning to wholeness and love,
To prayer and charity,
To family and friends.
This is the season that reminds us of who we are
And who we might become.
The season that summons us to return our days to purpose
And our lives to G-d’s Holy Word.

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

Postscript: For a list of prayers and stories for the High Holy Days, click on the “Yamim Noraim” button in the right hand column.

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.

 

Motyl the Fool

Posted on: August 25th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Hallelujah Scroll JamieThis short, short story celebrates the pure, unbounded joy of loving Torah. It’s a favorite and great for Simchat Torah. Here are more stories and prayers for Simchat Torah, including a prayer For The Gift of Torah Scholarship.” The image is from a poster created for my Whispered Prayer” by sofer Jamie Shear. To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

Motyl the Fool
Motyl doesn’t know a single word of Talmud. He can’t recite a single verse of Torah. But when he lifts the Sacred Scroll on Simchat Torah, when he holds the wood in his hand and the velvet brushes his cheek, when the song wraps itself around his heart, the parchment itself can feel his joy. Motyl dances, clutching the Torah to his chest and singing with all his might, “Torah orah, Torah orah, hallelujah!” One by one the words of the Law rise off the Scroll to dance with him. He dances with Breisheit and Shabbat, with Shema and Hineni. And Motyl the Fool can feel the fire of G-d’s Word. Motyl doesn’t know a single word of Talmud. He can’t recite a single verse of Torah. Motyl doesn’t need to. The words know him.

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

Postscript: The full Whispered Prayer” poster is available for sale as a downloadable PDF. 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.

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.

The Path of Righteousness

Posted on: August 19th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

800px-Shofar,_BROn Yom Kippur the questions of who we are and what we might become collide, as do the questions of what we’ve done with our lives and how much time we have left. The path of righteousness is paved with questions. This prayer echoes the Un’tanneh Tokef, an amazing and powerful prayer recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. To listen while you read, click the triangle in the bar below. The text follows. This appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

 

The Path of Righteousness
G-d of what was and what will be,
Of what might have been and might still be.
G-d of past and future,
Of memories and beginnings.
G-d of the finite and the infinite,
Of moments and possibilities.
What is my life?
And what of my death?
What of my choices?
And what of my future?
What of this distance?
And what of the endless sky?
What of the darkness?
And what of the light?

G-d of the seen and unseen,
Of the known and unknowable.
Teach me patience and understanding
As the mysteries of my life unfold.
Teach me to live gently, love generously,
And to walk with strength and confidence.
Teach me to give and to receive,
Sharing Your blessings in joy and sorrow.
Teach me to see others through Your eyes,
As children of G-d.
And teach me to see myself and my life as You do,
With love.

Blessed are You, Adonai,
Source of life,
Guardian and Shelter,
You set Your people on the path of righteousness,
Holiness and charity,
Kindness and grace,
To return to You in service.
Blessed is Your Holy Name.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to prayers and stories for the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days, listed by topic.

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: Photo by Martin Kozák, Wikimedia Commons

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