Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

 

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

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.

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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

Sowing Light: A Prayer/Poem Inspired by Text

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by Alden No Comments

This prayer/poem is inspired by Psalm 97, recited at Kabbalat Shabbat. The Psalm ends with this: “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart…” (Psalm 97:11-12) What if, in the tradition of the rabbis, we changed one word to reexplore the meaning? Instead of “…for the righteous…” use “…by the righteous…” This prayer reimagines the closing couplet after changing that one word. Join me on Ritualwell for a four-week immersion class on Writing from Sacred Text.

Sowing Light
Light is sown by the righteous,
Tucked into cracks in the sidewalks,
Dropped in the grass,
Breathed into the air,
Left waiting for others to find.

You who are upright in heart,
Let your deeds declare your love,
Let your hands be a source of healing,
Let your joy be a fountain of blessing.

Rejoice in righteousness,
And spread holiness throughout your days.
Light is sown for you
To magnify in service to G-d’s holy name.

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

Postscript: Midrash Psalms 97:2 interprets the line to mean that a great spiritual light, created at the beginning of all things, was set aside by G-d for the righteous as their reward at the end of days. As a result, Siddur Sim Shalom breaks with the classic translation – the translation found in both Mishkan T’fillah and the Koren Sacks Siddur – by rendering the line as “Light is stored for the righteous…” This prayer appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

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 Source: Selma in the City

Orchid, Cedar and Date Palm

Posted on: May 10th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A simple meditation inspired by nature. Israel is home to roughly 30 varieties of wild orchids. I took this photo of a pyramidal orchid — בן-סחלב צריפי — on Friday on a hike from Tel Socho to Givat Yishaiyahu, about 40 minutes from Jerusalem. Every Shabbat we sing: “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, growing tall like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Psalm 92:13)

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.

© 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: Alden Solovy

Meditation on Mitzvot

Posted on: November 18th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on bringing holiness into the world through mitzvot. Prayer and Torah are the path. This piece will appear in my forthcoming book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

Meditation on Mitzvot
It’s simple, really,
This list of things we do,
As a people,
This list of things I do,
To live in a good way,
For others and myself,
To leave a legacy of love,
To leave the world
Just a little better each day.

A kind word.
A gentle hand.
A loving voice.
A giving heart.

It’s not so simple, really,
To remember to live this way.
Always.
So we arrive early to study Torah
And strive for devotion in prayer,
To remember to honor all beings
With compassion and understanding,
Living a life of mitzvot in joy and service,
So that Torah will resound from our hearts,
Through our words and deeds,
Into the world,
And into the generations to come.

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

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Postscript: Here’s a link to “Peace Will Come,” which will also appear in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

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 Source: JTeach.org

For Children at Our Borders

Posted on: June 17th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A prayer against the injustice of children taken from parents by U.S. immigration authorities, parents seeking asylum in this free democratic nation. In six weeks, some 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border.

For Children at Our Borders
G-d of mothers and fathers,
G-d of babies and children,
Youth and teens,
The voice of agony echoes across the land,
As children are taken from their parents,
Perverting our history as a nation of immigrants,
Perverting our values,
Perverting the ways of justice and peace.
These children
Wait in misery
To be reunited with their families
So that a few may reap the political rewards
Of their suffering
By playing tough at our borders.

Source of grace,
Creator of kindness and goodness,
You call upon us to stand in the name of justice and fairness,
To witness against this abuse of power,
To battle the systematic assault on human beings,
To speak out against their suffering.

Bless those who rise up against this horror.
Give them courage and determination.
Bless those who plead on behalf of the oppressed and the subjugated
Before the seats of power.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.

Bless those now in bondage at the hand of the U.S. government.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
Release them. Free them. Heal them from trauma.
Reunite them with their families.
Hasten the day of their reunion.

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

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: See also “Sleeping Prophets,” a prayer calling for each of us to rise up to stand for justice. “For Government” is a prayer for just and righteous political leaders.

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 Source: NPR/Eric Gay/AP

You without Peace

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Here’s a meditation for those who yearn to find G-d’s blessings, but cannot let them in. I’m reminded of a comment at Limmud Vancouver 2018: “We fear that we won’t find G-d. But what we fear, even more, is that we will.”

You without Peace
Oh you without peace,
Who yearn for G-d’s blessings
But push them away,
Feeling their presence
And blocking their arrival,
Hoping for grace
Without gracing the hope
Of holy communion,
Of blessings and wonder,
Know this:

Your heart is beautiful.
Your love is pure.
Your longing sings with truth.
Your journey is righteous,
Your path is lonely,
And G-d yearns for you
To keep searching
For the holiness and light
That surround us all.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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 Source: NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Collection

Sowing Light

Posted on: February 17th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

light jewels on waterPsalm 97, recited at Kabbalat Shabbat, ends with this: “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in Adonai, you who are righteous; acclaim the holiness of G-d’s name.” (Psalm 97:11-12) What if, in the tradition of the rabbis, we changed one word to explore the meaning? Instead of “…for the righteous…” use “…by the righteous…” This prayer reimagines the closing couplet after changing that one word. This piece appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Sowing Light
Light is sown by the righteous,
Tucked into cracks in the sidewalks,
Dropped in the grass,
Breathed into the air,
Left waiting for others to find.

You who are upright in heart,
Let your deeds declare your love,
Let your hands be a source of healing,
Let your joy be a fountain of blessing.

Rejoice in righteousness,
And spread holiness throughout your days.
Light is sown for you
To magnify in service to G-d’s holy name.

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

Postscript: Midrash Psalms 97:2 interprets the line to mean that a great spiritual light, created at the beginning of all things, was set aside by G-d for the righteous as their reward at the end of days. As a result, Siddur Sim Shalom breaks with the classic translation – the translation found in both Mishkan T’fillah and the Koren Sacks Siddur – by rendering the line as “Light is stored for the righteous…”

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 Source: Selma in the City

Chop, Carry, Bake

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

bread2Here’s a simple new prayer about bringing our gifts into the world. It’s prayer for tikun olam, healing the world.

Chop, Carry, Bake
We stand before
The hand of G-d,
The hand of earth and fire,
Of substance and mystery,
The hand of flour and water,
Of gifts and blessings
The hand of life and death.

Open your hand to the needy,
While you can,
Before your strength fades,
For you are called
To extend your heart in righteousness,
To extend your human hand in kindness,
To share your bounty and your labor,
In service to creation.

We stand before
The hand of G-d,
In awe and wonder,
To chop wood,
To carry water,
To bake bread,
To bring it into the world
In love.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also my social justice prayers, including: “Lesser Children,” “To the Streets,” “Against Worker Exploitation,” “Against Hunger” and “Against Human Trafficking.” Here’s a link to more prayers for social justice.

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

Photo Source: Lagniappe = A little bit extra

Vayigash: Against Worker Exploitation

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

Farm WorkerThis is a social justice prayer for Shabbat Vayigash. In this week’s Torah portion, Joseph saves the Egyptians. He also also enslaves them. In his weekly commentary, Rabbi Shai Held grapples with understanding this contradiction. He concludes by saying that “…the greatest test of character may lie elsewhere – in the empathy we display towards those who stand powerless before us.” This prayer appears in the Labor Day section of my book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

Against Worker Exploitation
G-d of the laborer,
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,
Our brothers
And our sisters
Toil in misery,
Chained to taskmasters
By slavery, poverty or misfortune.
Bound to unbearable hours
And cruel conditions
So that others may reap the rewards
Of their suffering and 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 the forgotten
To expose greed and callousness in field and factory.
Give them courage and determination.
Bless those who plead on behalf of the oppressed and the subjugated
Before the seats of power,
Governments and corporations.
Give them wisdom and skill.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.

Bless those in financial bondage with resources.
Release them from want.
Hasten the day of their self-sufficiency and bounty.

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

© 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

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