A simple prayer/poem about love and hate, fire and water, written in the voice of the spiritual traveler, the one who knows, the one who hints at secrets, the one who loves you on your journey, the one who lives above the flames…
The Density of Love
Hate has a specific gravity,
A relative density to love
So much heavier,
Molten lava singeing water,
O you hearts of gold,
You precious metal,
You live above anger’s fire,
And cannot be burned.
A poetic whimsy about the joy of wearing tallit and tefillin, outward signs of our love of G-d, our commitment to mitzvot, and our desire to do G-d’s will in the world.
Fringes and Bangles
We ornament ourselves
With fringes and bangles,
With tallit and tefillin,
And wrapping ourselves
In the adornments
Of our faith.
Why ever did
The G-d of Israel
Want a nation of hippies,
And arm bands,
With symbols and sacred passages
That bind us to Sinai
And all of creation?
We wear the adornments of our faith
With joy and wonder,
With humor and humility,
Dancing in delight
Before the One,
Who smiles blessings
And beauty upon us
With fringes and bangles
Designed from realms above,
The adornments of love.
A simple meditation on seeking–and finding–G-d. Perhaps it is not as difficult as we might think. Perhaps it is only a matter of our willingness to see. Or perhaps I need to look a bit more closely at myself, others and the world.
How to Find G-d
Look for the image of G-d
In all that is,
In all that was,
In all that will be.
For the image of G-d radiates
From your life
And from your face,
The holiness that infuses us all.
This is the legacy,
The gift forever given,
Passed from mother to child,
From father to babe,
Visible in your countenance
And in your way of being.
Look for the image of G-d
And you will see it
In everyone and everything.
A simple meditation on the healing power of our liturgy, the healing power of our Siddur, it joins my many meditations on the beauty and power of prayer.
Sometimes, I hold my siddur
Against my chest,
Pressed to my heart
Like a dressing on a wound.
They speak to each other
In a language as sweet as love,
As simple as hope,
As ancient as G-d’s spirit
Hovering over the endless deep,
Calling through the darkness
To summon the light,
To receive the soul of prayer,
Yearning, ever yearning,
To praise and sanctify
G-d’s Holy Name.
This is a prayer to be said on behalf of those family members and friends who have taken on the task of daily caregiving of another member of the family or a close friend, devoting their days and energy to the care of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, and other dear ones.
G-d of health and healing,
Bless our family and friends
Who have taken on the sacred task
Of giving care and comfort
To their loved ones,
Committing their time, energy, and physical labor
To the well-being of dear ones
At a time of immeasurable need.
Grant them wisdom and skill,
Compassion and dedication,
Energy and endurance,
As time passes and tasks increase.
Remind them to care for themselves,
And to nourish their own bodies and souls,
So easily forgotten in this time of need.
Source and Shelter,
Rock of life,
Bless all who dedicate themselves
To the care of others,
And bring lasting health and healing
To all in need.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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,
Can only be summoned
From the secret chambers
Of your heart.
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.
“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