Posts Tagged ‘renewal’

 

Light from Beyond

Posted on: December 12th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

A Hanukkah poem about light. The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies — where I am the Liturgist in Residence — invited me to write a prayer poem for Hanukkah as part of its series “Illuminating Chanukah: Artistic Reflections on Jewish Texts.” Each artist was asked to interpret a Hanukkah text. This poem is an interpretation of a teaching of the Sefat Emet “that each Hannukah candle draws from the or haganuz, the hidden light of creation.” For the full text, go to Sefaria.

Light from Beyond
When you look
With all of your heart
Into the flames
Dedicated to miracles,
You may glimpse
That special light
God created
On the first day of existence.

How comforting to know
That God’s holiness
And majesty
Still reach this world
Of war and terror.

How wonderful to feel
That God’s love
And blessings
Still shine
To warm our souls.

How glorious to see
That mysteries from heaven
Still wait in secret
To bring joy and light
To all of creation.

When you look
With all of your heart
Into the Hanukkah lights,
You will see
That miracles
Beyond our sight
Will one day bring joy and peace
Beyond our deepest yearning.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Postscript:

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.”

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

Photo Source: NOAA

Nothing Left but Tears

Posted on: October 16th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

A new song in response to the terror invasion into Israel by Hamas. Lyrics by Alden Solovy, Music by Sue Radner Horowitz. Watch and listen to Sue singing “Nothing Left but Tears.” The video follows links to download PDFs of the chords and/or the sheet music.

Nothing Left but Tears
I must be made of water.
I have nothing left but tears.

Daughters. Mothers.
My spirit aching.
Sisters. Brothers.
A heart that’s breaking.
I must be made of water.
I have nothing left but tears.

Blood and terror.
Children dying.
Fear and anger.
So much crying.
I must be made of water.
I have nothing left but tears.

Oh this heartbreak,
Silence howling.
Oh this heart ache,
Terror prowling.
I must be made of water.
I have nothing left but tears.

Not just water.
These tears, they feed me.
My bones are iron.
My people need me.

Lyrics © 2023 Alden Solovy, Music © 2023 Sue Radner Horowitz

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Postscript: Listen to another Solovy / Horowitz collaboration, “Hallel in a Minor Key.”

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.”

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

The Sound of Holiness

Posted on: September 14th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

What do we hear when we listen to the shofar? The sound of holiness? But what does that mean? Perhaps only a poet can answer. This piece appears in These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah from CCAR Press. The book presents seventy discussions of single words of Torah paired with a poetic Midrash. The research on the word t’ruah, which inspired this poem, can be found in the book.

The Sound of Holiness

When God, in creating,
Began to create,
Silence hovered over the face of the deep.
And God said,
T’kiah. T’ruah. T’kiah.

Holiness has a sound.
Part swoosh of blood in the veins,
Part hum from the edge of the universe,
Part stillness, part vibration,
Part life entering a newborn,
Part life leaving the deceased,
Part dissonance, part resonance,
A sound that can only be heard
With the heart.

When God, in creating,
Began to create,
God spoke in music,
Giving us the shofar
As a vessel to hold the divine voice,
And as an instrument
To summon awe and wonder,
So we might become,
In our own lives
And in the world,
T’kiah g’dolah.

© 2023 CCAR Press from These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah

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Postscript: These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah from CCAR presents seventy discussions of single words of Torah paired with a poetic Midrash based on each word. It was awarded a Silver Medal from the Independent Book Publishers in the category of inspirational/spiritual.

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.”

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

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For the People of Morocco (After the Earthquake)

Posted on: September 11th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

Two prayers for the people of Morocco as the death toll rises after the recent earthquake. I first posted these prayers after an earthquake Haiti in January 2010. I have either revised these prayers or used elements of them in other prayers after other earthquakes around the world.

In Devastation (For the People of Morocco)
G-d beyond my understanding,
The earth has turned violent,
Sweeping our brothers and sisters off their feet,
Crushing homes and lives,
Upending dreams,
Toppling the foundations of hope and sustenance.
A shallow breath beneath the rubble
And wailing in the streets.
The injured and the dead.
The new widow,
The new orphan,
The newly bereft turn to You
Divine Source of abundance and grace.

G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Morocco,
And the victims of any disaster,
Any violence, suffering or despair.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
May a world of justice, righteousness and mercy
Come swiftly to their aid.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
Courage to heal,
And devotion to each other.

Heavenly Guide,
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the people of Morocco Your protection,
Your radiance,
And Your peace.

Prayer For First Responders (to the Earthquake in Morocco)
Crisis and chaos,
Confusion and loss,
A scene of sweeping destruction,
The first responders arrive
Among the breathless and dazed,
The frenzied, driven wild with fear and grief,
The incapacitated, the dead,
The weary, the lost, the injured,
And survivors forcing themselves
Beyond their limits
To fight devastation.

G-d whose ways are secret,
Bless these 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,
So that they become a source of hope and love.
Give them the tools they need in the days and hours ahead.
Protect them from physical harm,
Shield them from emotional pain,
And guard them from taking this trauma into themselves.

G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Morocco.
Let the world rally on their behalf.
May the deeds of the first responders
Find favor in Heaven
And bring healing on earth.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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

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.”

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

Photo Source: NDTV World

Against Worker Exploitation, Revised

Posted on: August 7th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

This revision of my 2011 prayer is inspired by my daughter Dana’s dedication to the Writers Guild of America strike. Dana is a member of the Art Directors Guild and a television writer. She’s creating strike ‘swag’ with the profits supporting the Entertainment Community Fund, which gave her the opportunity to meet Teamster Local 399 leader Lindsay Dougherty. I’ve updated this prayer by including some of the jobs that Teamsters represent, as well as the entertainment world. The original version appears in the Labor Day section of my book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

Against Worker Exploitation, Revised
G-d of the laborer,
The trucker and the writer,
G-d of those who build and bake and fly and act,
Those beside our hospital beds and hauling our trash,
G-d of the migrant and the ensnared,
The voice of the misused echoes across the land,
Overworked and undervalued in the name of profit,
Our children and our parents,
Our brothers and our sisters,
Toil, economically chained to taskmasters,
By need, by poverty, or by misfortune.
Bound to unbearable hours
And cruel conditions
So that others may reap the rewards
Of their labor, their suffering, and their endurance.

Source of abundance and grace,
Creator of affluence and wealth,
You call upon us to stand in the name of justice and fairness,
To witness against the abuse of economic power,
To battle theft by dominance and clout,
To fight corporate neglect of human beings,
To speak out against exploitation.

Bless those who dedicate their lives to the voiceless and forgotten,
To expose callousness in field and factory,
And greed in boardrooms and negotiations.
Bless those who plead on behalf of workers
Before the seats of power,
Before governments and corporations.
Give them wisdom and skill, courage and determination.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.

Blessed are You, G-d of All Being,
Who summons us to oppose oppression.

Revised by the author from “Against Worker Exploitation” © 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day

Postscript: This prayer is from my series of prayers “Against…” The series includes: “Against Poverty,” “Against Human Trafficking” and “Against Tyranny.” They follow a common format and focus on tikkun olam, repairing the world. Other related prayers include: “Upon Losing Employment” and “For Work.” For Vayigash 5773, I posted a prayer for family healing called “Dear Brother, Dear Sister.” This prayer first appeared on this site on October 21, 2011.

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!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Food Chain via Care 2

The Density of Love

Posted on: July 18th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

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,
Creating steam.

O you hearts of gold,
You precious metal,
You live above anger’s fire,
And cannot be burned.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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

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

Photo Source: Image created on Canva

Removing Life Support

Posted on: June 27th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

A difficult prayer for a difficult moment. In classic Jewish tradition, this prayer includes a request for forgiveness from the one who is near death by those who made the decision to remove life support. It is brief, by design, so as not to prolong the moment for anyone.

Removing Life Support
G-d of compassion,
With sorrow,
With love,
With hope defeated,
I/We say a last goodbye
To my/our _______________ (relationship)
Whom we cherished in life,
And whom we will mourn in death.

Grant him/her/them a perfect rest
Under Your canopy of peace
As medical professionals
Will soon remove life support.

O grievous moment,
O grievous hour,
Beloved _____________ (name or relationship)
Forgive me/us any wrongs
I/we may have done to you in this life,
And forgive me/us this last act of compassion,
Allowing your life and your suffering to end.

G-d of mercy,
May You grant hope in our days
And peace in our years.
As we mourn,
Accept this soul
To You
With love.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Postscript: Thanks to my friend Rabbi Paul Kipnes for suggesting this piece.

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.”

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

The Birds Stopped Singing

Posted on: April 20th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

For Earth Day, 2023, while listening to the birds sing, while watching them fly.

The Birds Stopped Singing
The day the birds stopped singing
And we finally believed the cries of the earth,
The day it was too late to quell the rising tides,
Too late to quench the burning forests,
Too late to quash the hole in the sky,
All that was left was to mourn the future,
As the future mourned for us.

G-d of all,
We still hear the birds singing, for now,
So perhaps there is still time
To save the planet,
To save Your handiwork,
To save the future.
The hills will skip with joy,
And the rivers will gurgle with laughter,
When we finally listen to the voice of creation.
Give us ears, Author of life,
To hear the cries of the grieving earth.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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

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

Photo by Alden Solovy

For the Disabled

Posted on: March 14th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

Hike for Hope, 2014

Next week, hikers will hit Israel’s trails to raise money for Tsad Kadima, an organization founded by parents of children with cerebral palsy to provide innovative educational services and rehabilitative treatment across the country. The Tsad Kadima way is to help kids and adults strive for educational advancement while promoting maximum personal agency tailored to each person’s condition. Please consider a donation of any size. Donate to my Hike for Hope for Tsad Kadima by clicking here. This prayer-poem includes optional language in [brackets].

For the Disabled
G-d of all,
You have made a world of
Infinite variation and infinite beauty,
Giving us each different skills and challenges,
Strengths and weaknesses,
Abilities and inabilities,
So that we may take our individual places
In tikkun olam,
In repairing Your world,
So that we would need each other
To accomplish Your will.

Look with special care upon those
Whose abilities are challenged by obstacles to their
Physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning.
Bless them with loving, understanding, and dedicated parents,
Families of strength and heart,
And friends who bring them joy and laughter.
May they be surrounded with encouragement,
With love and with compassion.
Bless their caregivers with skill,
To support them with energy and enthusiasm.
Bless their teachers with talent,
To teach them with patience and wisdom.
Bless all who advocate for the disabled before the seats of power.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.

[May these blessings also be heard in the name of
My child/partner/parent _________________ (name).
May he/she/they reach the highest potential.]

G-d of love,
Help us to be present for each other,
With generosity of spirit,
Generosity of understanding,
And generosity of blessings.
Help us to see the wonder and majesty
In our differences.
May we all find our place
In service to Your holy name.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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Postscript: This year the Hike for Hope will be in Ramat Hanegev/Sde Boker from March 21-23, 2023. We’ll explore the desert canyons and expanses, wildflowers, natural springs, and archaeology that make this area a hiker’s paradise. Donate to the Hike for Hope by clicking here.

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.”

For the People of Turkey (After the Earthquake)

Posted on: February 7th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

Two prayers for the people of Turkey as the death toll rises after today’s earthquake. I posted these two prayers 12 years ago after an earthquake struck Turkey then. These prayers were first written after an earthquake Haiti in January 2010. I have either revised these prayers or used elements of them in other prayers after other earthquakes around the world.

In Devastation (For the People of Turkey)
G-d beyond my understanding,
The earth has turned violent,
Sweeping our brothers and sisters off their feet,
Crushing homes and lives,
Upending dreams,
Toppling the foundations of hope and sustenance.
A shallow breath beneath the rubble
And wailing in the streets.
The injured and the dead.
The new widow,
The new orphan,
The newly bereft turn to You
Divine Source of abundance and grace.

G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Turkey,
And the victims of any disaster,
Any violence, suffering or despair.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
May a world of justice, righteousness and mercy
Come swiftly to their aid.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
Courage to heal,
And devotion to each other.

Heavenly Guide,
Hand of love and shelter,
Grant the people of Turkey Your protection,
Your radiance,
And Your peace.

Prayer For First Responders (to the Earthquake in Turkey)
Crisis and chaos,
Confusion and loss,
A scene of sweeping destruction,
The first responders arrive
Among the breathless and dazed,
The frenzied, driven wild with fear and grief,
The incapacitated, the dead,
The weary, the lost, the injured,
And survivors forcing themselves
Beyond their limits
To fight devastation.

G-d whose ways are secret,
Bless these 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,
So that they become a source of hope and love.
Give them the tools they need in the days and hours ahead.
Protect them from physical harm,
Shield them from emotional pain,
And guard them from taking this trauma into themselves.

G-d of justice and mercy,
We pray for the people of Turkey.
Let the world rally on their behalf.
May the deeds of the first responders
Find favor in Heaven
And bring healing on earth.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

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

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.”

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

Photo Source: NPR

“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

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