Posts Tagged ‘hope’

 

Music for Pervasive Peace: A New Liturgical Song for Rosh HaShanah

Posted on: August 10th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

This Rosh HaShanah — as the specter of another socially-distant holiday looms — let’s renew our dreams of peace, a pervasive peace encompassing wholeness, health, renewal, vitality, and resilience. To share that prayer on Erev Rosh HaShanah 5782, Rebecca Schwartz, cantorial soloist at Congregation Kol Ami, Elkins Park, PA, created a new musical setting for my short blessing “Pervasive Peace.” Watch her singing the blessing on this video, or click the triangle in the bar below for audio only. Follow along with the lyrics, below. The sheet music is available on oysongs here. Combining this music with “Wildly Unimaginable Blessings,” text also below, creates a beautiful sung and spoken two-prayer liturgy for the New Year. To read more about the thinking behind “Pervasive Peace,” read this article in RavBlog.

Pervasive Peace
May it be Your will, G-d of our fathers and mothers,
That the year ahead brings a pervasive and complete peace
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
Beyond all the dreams of humanity.

,יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ, אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵֽינוּ
שֶׁהַשָּׁנָה הַבָּאָה תָּבִיא שָׁלוֹם מֻחְלָט וְשָׁלֵם
,עַל כָּל־יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל
.מֵעֵֽבֶר לְכָל־חֲלֹמוֹת־הָאֱנוֹשׁוּת

Y’hi ratzon mil’fanecha, Elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Shehashanah haba-ah tavi shalom muchlat v’shaleim
Al kol yosh’vei teiveil,
Mei-ever l’chol chalomot ha-enoshut.

Wildly Unimaginable Blessings
Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
Blessings so unexpected,
Blessings so beyond our hopes for this world,
Blessings so unbelievable in this era,
That their very existence
Uplifts our vision of creation,
Our relationships to each other,
And our yearning for life itself.

Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
A complete healing of mind, body, and spirit,
A complete healing for all,
The end of suffering and strife,
The end of plague and disease,
When kindness flows from the river of love,
When goodness flows from the river of grace,
Awakened in the spirit of all beings,
When G-d’s light,
Radiating holiness,
Is seen by everyone.

Let us pray —
With all our hearts —
For wildly unimaginable blessings,
So that G-d will hear the call
To open the gates of the Garden,
Seeing that we haven’t waited,
That we’ve already begun to repair the world,
In testimony to our faith in life,
Our faith in each other,
And our faith in the Holy One,
Blessed be G-d’s Name.

“Pervasive Peace” lyrics © 2019 by Alden Solovy, music © 2021 by Schwalkin Music (ASCAP).
“Wildly Unimaginable Blessings” © 2020 by Alden Solovy.

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Postscript: Thanks to Rav Aytan Kadden for his help with the Hebrew. The sheet music is available on oysongs here. Find more of Rebecca’s music at www.rebeccasongs.com.

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: European Southern Observatory

For Surfside, Florida

Posted on: June 29th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A prayer for hope and survival as time passes after the devastating condo collapse in Surfside, Florida. May we all know safety and peace of mind in our homes.

For Surfside, Florida
This waiting is exhausting,
This watching is devastating,
This wondering is heartbreaking,
As the painful and grueling work
Of digging through rubble
Feels endlessly slow.

G-d beyond understanding,
We pray for the dead and the lost
After the calamity and catastrophe
In Surfside, Florida,
Hoping against the destruction and tears
For moments of rescue and reunion.
For the dead, grant them peace under your wings.
For the lost, grant them delivery, life, and health.
For their families, grant them strength and endurance.
For the community, prepare a path to healing.
Of all places, let us feel safe in our homes and dwellings,
With our families, friends, and dear ones.

Bless the first responders with endurance
To be of maximum service in this moment of immeasurable need.
Bless their limbs with strength,
Their eyes with courage,
Their hands with gentleness.
Protect them from physical harm,
Shield them from emotional pain,
And guard them from taking this trauma into themselves.

G-d of heaven and earth,
Heavenly Guide,
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the people of Surfside, Florida,
Your protection,
Your radiance,
And Your peace.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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: News sources

Summoned to the World

Posted on: May 27th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A simple meditation about why G-d called your soul to earth, and what it says about the choices you make.

Summoned to the World
Something you do
Will resonate
Throughout eternity.
That is why you are here.
To touch time
With your soul.
To create ripples
In the flow of our days.

You were summoned to the world
By G-d’s will.
Holiness aspires
The work of your hands.
The divine requires
The prayers of your heart.

Create beauty.
Spread love.
Embody kindness.
Do justice.
Pursue peace.
Always knowing that
The moment of your life
Summoned by eternity,
The moment of your life
Without which the universe
Could not stand,
Is a secret
In heaven and on earth.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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: DH News

The Language of Your Soul

Posted on: May 5th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A short meditation inspired by Rav Abraham Isaac Ha-Cohen Kook‘s idea of the constant prayer of the soul, that our souls have a deep longing to be in constant prayer and that we can cultivate that yearning.

The Language of Your Soul
The language of your soul,
That fountain of blessings inside you,
Pouring forth in a river of love,
From you to G-d,
And G-d to you,
Sustaining life and creation itself,
Always seeking to sing goodness,
And beauty,
And truth,
Can only be summoned
From the secret chambers
Of your heart.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” 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: iBelieve.com

One You

Posted on: April 25th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on the vastness of creation and the uniqueness of each and every soul. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

One You
Love
Is a bridge
To the moment of creation,
The moment
When G-d’s heart
Could no longer be contained,
When light exploded
In a big bang,
Creating billions and
Billions of stars,
Millions and
Millions of galaxies,
Planets, moons,
Solar systems without number,
And one,
Only one,
You.

Yes,
You are
The impossible
Yet here-you-are
Miracle of love.
The impossible
Yet here-you-are
Miracle of life.
The impossible
Yet here-you-are
Miracle of G-d’s
Loving hand
And outstretched arm,
Created in the same instant that
Holiness, mercy, beauty, goodness,
Righteousness and grace,
Began to expand
Throughout the universe.

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

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.”

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Photo Source: NASA

Between Egypt and Sinai

Posted on: April 17th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

On Saturday evening we finish counting three weeks of the Omer. With four more weeks to go, we have metaphorically left Egypt behind, but — on the spiritual journey — we are closer to Egypt than Sinai. This is a meditation on being in the place between. This piece appears in my latest book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Between Egypt and Sinai
Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only the journey.
The long march from what was
To what might be,
From servitude
To service,
From pain
To purpose,
From Pharoah
To G-d’s holy mountain.

Some days,
More than I care to admit,
I am closer to Egypt than Sinai,
Closer to narrowness of mind
And constriction of heart.
Still I see the mountain
And rededicate myself
To the destination.

Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only one question.
Are we ready
To become a nation of priests,
Guided by Torah,
Serving G-d,
The Jewish people,
And all of humanity
With our hands,
With our souls,
And with our lives.

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

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Postscript: Here’s a link to my meditations for each day of counting the Omer.

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: WikiMedia Commons

Three Meditations for Tu B’Shvat

Posted on: January 24th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

Here are three meditations for Tu B’Shvat. It’s also called Rosh HaShanah La’Ilanot, the ‘New Year of the Trees,’ which begins Wednesday evening, Jan. 27, 2021. A festival of renewal and hope, it’s celebrated as an ecological awareness day, as well as a day for planting trees.

Orchid, Cedar and Date Palm
If only I could see
Your love as an orchid blossom,
I would smell the secret scent of holiness
From the heavens.

If only I could see
Your love as a cedar in Lebanon
I would stand tall in the strength
Of Your glory.

If only I could see
Your love as a date palm,
I would become the sweet fruit
Of divine plenty.

This Prayer is a Tree
Could it be
That a prayer
Is like a tree
Falling in the woods?
No one needs to hear
Its thunderous crash,
For its nutrients to soak
Back into the earth.
For its hollows
To provide shelter.
For it to become
One with life itself.

Let your prayers
Pour out upon
The fertile ground
Of your heart.
Let your prayers
Feed your aching soul.

Could it be
That your prayer
Is like a tree
Falling in the woods?
No one needs to see it
Crack and tumble
For it to clear space
For new growth.
For it to open space,
Letting sunlight
Penetrate the deep.
For it to become
One with life itself.

Tending Gardens
Wildflowers bloom,
A field of colors,
A meadow on a hillside,
Wild and free,
Tended by sun and rain,
Gently painted by the will of the earth.

Another place of delight,
My garden blooms,
A blueprint from my heart,
Guided by my hand
Tended with love and affection
Planted according to my design.

G-d of splendor,
Grant me the willingness to plant gardens
And the wisdom to leave other gardens
To Your loving hand.
Teach me the beauty of doing
And glory not doing.
Grant me the power to act
And the strength to refrain.
Let my will to create,
And my willingness to accept,
Find balance and harmony
In my heart and in my hands,
So that my doing,
And my not doing,
Serve Your will
And Your world.

“Orchid, Cedar and Date Palm” and “This Prayer is a Tree” are © 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. “Tending Gardens” is © 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer.

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.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy

Two Prayers to End 2020 and Start 2021

Posted on: December 24th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This is a two-prayer liturgy to end 2020 and start 2021, combining my Rosh Hashanah 5780 prayer “Pervasive Peace” with my Rosh Hashanah 5781 prayer “Wildly Unimaginable Blessings.” They’re big, audacious prayers that we’ve earned after a year of global pandemic.

Wildly Unimaginable Blessings
Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
Blessings so unexpected,
Blessings so beyond our hopes for this world,
Blessings so unbelievable in this era,
That their very existence
Uplifts our vision of creation,
Our relationships to each other,
And our yearning for life itself.

Let us dream
Wildly unimaginable blessings…
A complete healing of mind, body, and spirit,
A complete healing for all,
The end of suffering and strife,
The end of plague and disease,
When kindness flows from the river of love,
When goodness flows from the river of grace,
Awakened in the spirit of all beings,
When G-d’s light,
Radiating holiness,
Is seen by everyone.

Let us pray —
With all our hearts —
For wildly unimaginable blessings,
So that G-d will hear the call
To open the gates of the Garden,
Seeing that we haven’t waited,
That we’ve already begun to repair the world,
In testimony to our faith in life,
Our faith in each other,
And our faith in the Holy One,
Blessed be G-d’s Name.

Pervasive Peace
May it be Your will, G-d of our fathers and mothers,
That the year ahead brings a pervasive and complete peace
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
Beyond all the dreams of humanity.

,יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ, אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵֽינוּ
שֶׁהַשָּׁנָה הַבָּאָה תָּבִיא שָׁלוֹם מֻחְלָט וְשָׁלֵם
,עַל כָּל־יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל
.מֵעֵֽבֶר לְכָל־חֲלֹמוֹת־הָאֱנוֹשׁוּת

Y’hi ratzon mil’fanecha, Elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Shehashanah haba-ah tavi shalom muchlat v’shaleim
Al kol yosh’vei teiveil,
Mei-ever l’chol chalomot ha-enoshut.

Pervasive Peace” and “Wildly Unimaginable Blessings” are © 2019 and 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: Thanks to Rabbi Gordon Fuller for his suggestion that I offer a prayer for the end of 2020 and the start of 2021.

You’re invited to the Zoom book launch of This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer. Register to attend here.

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: European Southern Observatory

Meditation for the End of Hanukkah

Posted on: December 17th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

After the eight days — after the Eternal Lamp stayed alight for eight days on one day of oil — the rededicated Temple was back in service to the Israelite nation. The miracle of the oil led to a renewed ability to serve G-d. For today, that echo make Hanukkah a call to rededicate of our lives to serving the Most High. See also “The Season of Dedication.” The idea for a post-Hanukkah meditation came from my friend Cantor Evan Kent.

Meditation for the End of Hanukkah
The miracle didn’t end
After eight days.
The miracle was about hearts,
The miracle was about hands,
Rededicated to the service
Of G-d and humanity,
Rededicated to Torah and mitzvot,
Rededicated to the Soul of the Universe.

The miracle didn’t end
After eight days of consecrated oil ran out,
Eight days of consecrated oil
Burning radiant in holy testimony
To G-d’s saving power.
The miracles of love and hope
Still shine luminous
In your heart.

We are surrounded by light.
We are sources of light.
We are mirrors of G-d’s light.

And so, we are called to serve the Most High,
With prayer and song,
With chesed and g’milut chasadim,
With tikkun and tikkun olam,
With ahava and ahavat chinam.
The miracle is ours now.
We will carry it into the world.
We will be the light itself.
The light of justice,
The light of peace.

© 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: My Jewish Learning

These Vows – A Covid Kol Nidre

Posted on: September 27th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

Finished in the hours before Yom Kippur, 5781…
And a year has come and gone…
Now, Yom Kippur 5782…

These Vows – A Covid Kol Nidre
You have been summoned
To wander,
In search of God,
In a Yom Kippur wilderness
Of heartbreak and isolation,
Of fire and ash,
Of lurking plague,
Of fears unknown,
Of fears too real,
Where the shofar blast
Is a faint echo,
And the still small voice
Waits in stillness.

This vow, this oath,
This pledge, this duty,
This commitment, this honor,
To love and seek G-d,
To love and support our people,
We will never
Rescind or revoke,
Revise or renege,
Abandon or discard,
Not last year,
Not this year,
Not next year,
Never.

אוֹר זרע לצדיק, ולישרי-לב שמחה.
Or zarua latzadik. ul’yishrei leiv simchah.
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

Return to us, Holy One,
As we return to You.
How I wish to sing in the key of Lamentations.
How I wish to demand an accounting from You.
Without an answer,
We will still sing tonight in the key of El Rachum,
The key of the God of Mercy,
When we defiantly declare…

ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם
שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה.
Baruch ata adonai elohenu melech ha olam,
shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe
Who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: My other prayers for Yom Kippur can be found here.

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: Wikipedia

“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