Posts Tagged ‘Pesach reading’

 

Exodus, Again and Again

Posted on: April 1st, 2015 by Alden No Comments

800px-Egypt’s_Desert_MountainsFor Passover, a new prayer for peace and endurance in the face of existential threat, set in the context of history. It’s a reminder of our bond with the land and the survival of our people through millennia of exile and persecution. It begins with an ambiguous line from Torah, also used in the Passover Haggadah – “arami oved avi,” translated as “my father was a wandering Aramean” – the use of which is discussed in the postscript, below.

Exodus, Again and Again
My father was a wandering Aramean,
My mother a wandering Jew,
Sent on a journey home,
On the journey to a promised land.

His children’s children were slaves,
And their children’s children refugees,
History set in the journey from slavery to freedom,
A march repeated throughout the ages.

The Temple fell, our nation dispersed,
And we did not forget.
It fell twice, and we did not forget.
We have risen,
Again and again,
To dream of Jerusalem,
To yearn for Zion,
To pray for redemption in our own land.

My mother was expelled,
My father was pursued,
My children hunted,
Generations lost
To fire and knife.

We are a tide of survival,
Surging and receding,
Returning to our people,
Returning to our G-d,
Returning, once again, to our land.

We are home.
Exiled no more.
In prayer and in repentance,
We are home.
In love and in joyous yearning,
We are home.
We are home to stay.

Rock of Jacob,
Let peace descend on Zion and Israel,
And let gladness fill our hearts,
For the sake of Torah,
For the sake of all of Your children,
For the sake of Your Holy Name.

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

Postscript: “Arami oved avi” (Deut. 26:5) is translated as “my father was a wandering Aramean.” Some Haggadahs assume a classic interpretation of the verse, rendering the Hebrew as “an Aramean destroyed my father.” Rashi accepts this reading, but Ibn Ezra strongly rejects it. Ibn Ezra says the verse refers to Jacob, who, when he was in Aram, was lost. Rashbam argues that the verse more appropriately applies to Abraham, who can correctly be identified as an Aramean. In the context of this prayer, interpreting the line as either Abraham or Jacob makes the most sense; however, the classic interpretation also works to ground a theme of existential threat and exile. Please check out my book of Passover readings, Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings.

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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

Redeeming My Life

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

This is meditation on personal freedom, recognizing that we must first forgive ourselves for our own mistakes and misdeeds before we can fully express love and care for ourselves and for others. It appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Redeeming My Life
A part of me
Refuses to forgive
Myself
For my errors, my mistakes,
My oversights and misdeeds.
How can I redeem my life from within
This place of judgment,
Of harsh words and
Somber requirement?

G-d of Old,
G-d of Justice and Truth,
Teach me to restore my life
Through acts of love and kindness,
Thoughtfulness and care,
In support of my
Family and community.
Teach me to surrender my days
To the joy of service to others,
The joy of concern for this world
And generations to come.

Heavenly Guide,
Revive me with Your light,
Restore me with Your truth,
Refresh me with deeds
Of righteousness and charity.

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

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Elijah, Revised

Posted on: February 9th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Elijah Beth FlusserThere’s a special kind of a hope, a kind of hope that opens the heart to our deepest yearning for a world of wholeness and love ushered in by G-d’s hand. For me, it’s captured singularly a song that we sing every year at the Pesach Seder and each week after Havdalah, a song about Elijah the Prophet. Elijah, our legend teaches, will announce the coming of the messianic age.

This is an expansion and revision of a prayer by the same name for use in my new book, Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings. The original was a short and simple six-line acrostic spelling Elijah with the first letter of each line. This version deepens the image of a messianic age and, in the third stanza, makes reference to I Kings 18:37 and I Kings 19:11-13.

Elijah
Eternal One,
Hear our cause!
Love and gladness,
Hope and salvation,
Israel restored,
The world redeemed,
Righteousness and mercy in an age of peace.

We are ready for healing.
Nations dream of justice,
While communities yearn for wisdom.
Leaders search for guidance,
While people seek hope and comfort,
Solace and rest.

Answer us, O God, answer us.
For You are not in the wind,
Nor in the shattering rocks.
You are not in the earthquake,
Nor the raging fire.
You are the still, small voice.

Ancient One,
God of our fathers and mothers,
Let us hear Your voice
Resound from Your holy mountain
As in the days of old.
Send us Your messenger,
Elijah, prophet among prophets,
To announce the time of blessing and wisdom,
To herald the return of holiness,
To proclaim Your world to come.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to another Passover meditation, “The Season of Freedom.” Click for a full annotated list of meditations and readings for Pesach.

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 Credit: Beth Flusser on Haggadot.com

Elijah

Posted on: March 24th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

Elijah Beth FlusserThere’s a special kind of a hope, a kind of hope that opens the heart to our deepest yearning for a world of wholeness and love ushered in by G-d’s hand. For me, it’s captured singularly a song that we sing at the Pesach Seder and after Havdalah, a song for “Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite. Let him come quickly in our day with the messiah, the son of David.”

Elijah
Eternal One, hear our cause!
Love and gladness, hope and salvation,
Israel restored, the world redeemed,
Justice and mercy in an age of peace.
Announce the time of blessing and wisdom.
Herald the return of holiness, Your world to come.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: This is my first acrostic. I subsequently wrote an expanded version of this prayer that is not an acrostic.  I’ve been working on two alphabetical acrostics for far too long and have been stumped by certain unforgiving letters near the end of the alphabet. Here’s a link to another Passover meditation, “The Season of Freedom.” Click for a full annotated list of meditations and readings for Pesach.

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: Beth Flusser on Haggadot.com

Release Me

Posted on: March 23rd, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

celebratefreedomcard-673x1024Here’s a new prayer for Passover, which echoes the theme of two of my other Pesach offerings, “Egypt Inside” and “Breaking Bonds.” It’s about yearning for freedom from the emotions and experiences that hold me back, as well as the hope to see myself through G-d’s eyes.

Release Me
Holy One,
Release me from judgment.
Release me from doubt.
Release me from hunger.
Release me from want.
Release me from loneliness.
Release me from despair.
Release me from disappointment.
Release me from anger and shame.
Release me with Your gentle hand
And a song of hope.
Release me with the light of Your Word
And the echo of Your voice.

G-d of Old,
Guide me to wisdom and strength.
Teach me to break free of the chains
That I have wrapped around my own heart.
Teach me to live a life of service to others,
A life in celebration of Your gifts.
Teach me to see myself through Your loving eyes,
So that I may return, rejoicing,
To You
And Your people.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to another Passover meditation, “The Season of Freedom.” Click here for a full annotated list of meditations and readings for Pesach.

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Photo Credit: Ben David Cards

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.

Egypt Inside

Posted on: March 29th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

wollfhaggadahLeaving Egypt is the quintessential Jewish metaphor for the road to freedom. Leaving is only the beginning of that road. Leaving Egypt behind, leaving slavery behind, is much more difficult. This meditation appears in my new book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

Egypt Inside
This I confess:
I have taken Egypt with me.
I’ve kept myself a slave to grief and loss,
Fear and anger and shame.
I have set myself up as taskmaster,
Driving myself beyond the limits
Of reasonable time and common sense.
I’ve seen miracles from heaven,
Signs and wonders in my own life,
Yet I’ve taken Egypt with me,
Still waiting for the heavens to speak.

G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand leaving Egypt is easy.
Leaving Egypt behind is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live in a tyranny of my own making,
Or to set my heart free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.

G-d of freedom,
Help me to leave Egypt behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.

Blessed are You, G-d of wonder,
You set Your people on the road to redemption.

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

Postscript: My book Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings includes 18 readings for Passover. Special thanks to Rabbi Peter Knobel who suggested – among many wonderful ideas for my writing and this site – that I think of holidays as opportunities to write new prayers.

Please check out my Meet the Author video 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: The National Library of Israel

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