Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

 

Fringes and Bangles

Posted on: June 28th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

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,
Draping ourselves
And wrapping ourselves
In the adornments
Of our faith.

Why ever did
The G-d of Israel
Want a nation of hippies,
Wearing blankets,
And arm bands,
And headdresses,
Adorning ourselves
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.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. 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: United Synagogue/JTA, from The Times of Israel

Siddur

Posted on: June 29th, 2022 by Alden No Comments

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.

Siddur
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.

© 2022 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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

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.

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

Photo Source: Aish

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.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

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

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.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

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

One-by-One: A Prayer as the COVID Death Toll Mounts

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

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is approaching 100,000, as the world-wide death toll surpasses 350,000. This prayer was written at the request of the Central Conference of American Rabbis in an effort to remember and mourn those lost hearts and souls as the U.S. marks this sad milestone.

ADDENDUM: As of February 17, 2021, the U.S. death toll surpassed 500,000 and total deaths world-wide are nearing 2.5 million people.

One-by-One: A Prayer as the COVID Death Toll Mounts
God of consolation,
Surely you count in heaven,
Just as we count here on earth,
In shock and in sorrow,
The souls sent back to You,
One-by-one,
The dead from the COVID pandemic,
As the ones become tens,
The tens become hundreds,
The hundreds become thousands,
The thousands become ten-thousands
And then hundred-thousands,
Each soul, a heartbreak,
Each soul, a life denied.

God of wisdom,
Surely in the halls of divine justice
You are assembling the courts,
Calling witnesses to testify,
To proclaim
The compassion of some
And the callousness of others
As we’ve struggled to cope.
The souls taken too soon,
Whose funerals were lonely,
Who didn’t need to die,
Who died alone,
Will tell their stories
When You judge
Our triumphs
And our failures
In these hours of need.

God of healing,
Put an end to this pandemic,
And all illness and disease.
Bless those who stand in service to humanity.
Bless those who grieve.
Bless the dead,
So that their souls are bound up in the bond of life eternal.
And grant those still afflicted
With disease or trauma
A completed and lasting healing,
One-by-one,
Until suffering ceases,
And we can stop counting the dead,
In heaven
And on earth.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Postscript: My other coronavirus prayers are: “Sheltering in Place,” “On the Front Lines of the Pandemic,” “Healing from Coronavirus“, “Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” and “Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic.”

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: The New York Times, May 24, 2020

Let’s Hike Together in Israel

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

I wrote this meditation — “On the Trail” — after 17 days thru-hiking and  mountaineering on Mount Rainier. In Israel, I’m still an avid hiker. So… let’s go hiking together! Really. When we’re done sheltering in place, Via Sabra – the experiential Israel tour pros – and I invite you to hike with me in my spiritual Israel. We’ll have a professional tour guide describing the land and plan a variety of cultural and culinary experiences. For those inclined, I’ll lead a variety of spiritual experiences. If you’re interested in finding our more, drop me an email.

On the Trail
G-d of beginnings,
G-d of mystery and adventure,
The path is steep,
The route is hidden,
The trail a narrow ridge line,
Exposed and treacherous,
Slicing between majestic canyons,
Rising to the awesome sky.
The load is heavy, the destination unknown,
But the journey has rhythm and dance,
Song and story,
Ancient music that rises around us,
To take us from sunset to sunset
As we move into the glorious unknown
Step by step,
Moment by moment,
Day by day by day.

G-d of the wayfarer,
G-d of the traveler and sojourner,
Divine light of wonder and truth,
Lead us.
Show us the way
Across vast open spaces
And through tight, narrow passages.
Guide us.
Show us the way
Through stormy days
And moonless nights.

Blessed are You, Source and Shelter,
Guide and Compass, Oasis of Strength,
You lead Your people from trail to trail,
From trial to trial,
From darkness to light,
With love.

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

Postscript: This prayer will appear in my forthcoming book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer. It was first published on April 4, 2010.

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.

Photos of Alden Solovy

This Prayer is a Tree

Posted on: April 6th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

If a prayer is recited in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

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.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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See also: “Tending Gardens,” “Life as a Garden” and “The Broken Sky.”

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: WikiMedia Commons

Sheltering in Place

Posted on: March 29th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

In this strange and uncertain new era of COVID-19, here’s a prayer of gratitude and hope for our time sheltering in place. May we all know health and safety.

Sheltering in Place
May it be Your will,
G-d of our fathers and mothers,
That our sheltering in place
Be for health and healing,
Longevity and life,
Sustenance, renewal and love.
Let our best selves shine forth
In these moments of uncertainty,
These moments of unfamiliar distances,
These moments that may yield stress or conflict,
Confusion or despair.
Let peace arise inside us.
Let kindness flow between us.
Let deliverance rise up from heaven,
And let health and goodwill radiate throughout the world
As a river of blessings.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

Postscript: My other coronavirus prayers are: “On the Front Lines of the Pandemic,” “Healing from Coronavirus“, “Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” and “Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic.”

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.

Shavua Tov Live! with Trisha, Devon and Alden

Posted on: March 21st, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This is your personal invitation to an online reading of prayer and poetry, with song and meditation, to uplift your week. Ritualwell is hosting a half-hour event featuring Devon Spier, Trisha Arlin and me on Sunday, March 22, at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on Zoom. Register in advance here. We’ll each read from our work. Devon will lead a chant and I’ll lead a Six-Word Prayer moment. Here’s a taste of the event. Remember to register.

Trisha Arlin’s “Instead of: A Prayer for Peace

Blessed Yah, Creator, Created, Creating…
We pray for peace,
For ourselves and the world,
Even if only for one day:

Instead of anger, we choose kindness.
Instead of revenge, we choose justice.
Instead of resentment, we choose empathy.
Instead of work, we choose rest.
Instead of ideology, we choose compromise.
Instead of destruction, we choose community.
Instead of fear, we choose endurance.
Instead of invective, we choose prayer.
Instead of violence, we choose peace.

Blessed Yah, Creator, Created, Creating…
We give thanks for this day of peace.
May it change us, may it change the world,
And let us say, Amen.

Instead of: A Prayer for Peace” is © 2014 Trisha Arlin. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Chant to be led by Devon Spier

From the head on my shoulders
To the soles of my shoes
Somebody someone comin’ through

From the soul ‘bove my shoulders
To the soles of my shoes
Somebody someone comin’ through

La da da da da da da da da!
Da da da da la la la la da da (x2)

לֹא בָאֵשׁ יְהוָה; וְאַחַר הָאֵשׁ, קוֹל דְּמָמָה דַקָּה
But Adonai was not in the fire
And after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12)

Spiritual Vandals” by Alden Solovy
At the gates of an ancient city
A spiritual vandal cracked into my heart.
Stunned,
Expecting the blood of my grief and shame
To sizzle on the hot stone,
Ready to shout,
‘How dare you touch that sacred place,’
I saw a river of light flowing through me.
Starlight. Moonlight. Sunlight. Your light. My light.
Light from the moment of creation.
So much radiance and glory.
Suddenly on my knees,
My forehead on the pilgrim’s path,
I wept.

Now I wait at the gates
For you.
To invite you close,
To let me see the fissure in your heart
Ready to burst,
To touch it with love,
To crack you open
So that you can see the majesty and the beauty
That flows through us all.

Listen,
Dear sisters, dear brothers:
Do not fear the vandals who guard
The gates of mercy.
For mercy is love,
And love is light,
And light seeks light,
And these angels only want to show
That it’s been inside you
All along.

Spiritual Vandals” is © 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
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Postscript: Remember to register in advance here. You’re also invited to join my Six-Word Prayer Facebook page, and my daily gratitude Facebook page called “Grateful Heart, Joyous Soul, Precious Life.” Thanks again to Ritualwell.

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. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

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

 

“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