Posts Tagged ‘road to Sinai’

 

Between Egypt and Sinai

Posted on: April 17th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

On Saturday evening we finish counting three weeks of the Omer. With four more weeks to go, we have metaphorically left Egypt behind, but — on the spiritual journey — we are closer to Egypt than Sinai. This is a meditation on being in the place between. This piece appears in my latest book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Between Egypt and Sinai
Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only the journey.
The long march from what was
To what might be,
From servitude
To service,
From pain
To purpose,
From Pharoah
To G-d’s holy mountain.

Some days,
More than I care to admit,
I am closer to Egypt than Sinai,
Closer to narrowness of mind
And constriction of heart.
Still I see the mountain
And rededicate myself
To the destination.

Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only one question.
Are we ready
To become a nation of priests,
Guided by Torah,
Serving G-d,
The Jewish people,
And all of humanity
With our hands,
With our souls,
And with our lives.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

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Postscript: Here’s a link to my meditations for each day of counting the Omer.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. 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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Guest Writer: Yoni Hammer-Kossoy

Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A Shavuot prayer-poem by my kehilla friend Yoni Hammer-Kossoy. His poetry recently appeared or is forthcoming in Forage Poetry, Dime Show Review, the Sunlight Press and the American Journal of Poetry. Yoni is a featured contributor to Songs of Eretz Poetry. Born and raised in the US, he’s lived in Israel with his family for the last 20 years.

Standing at Sinai
We are standing at Sinai and the Torah is given in a heartbeat,
standing and the Torah is still being given

unfolding across time and generations.
We are standing and the others are in shadow,

those who came before and those who will someday come after,
but we feel them as a tree’s deepest roots

seek hidden pools of water,
as a tree feels in every bud the flower and fruit that must follow.

We feel them standing with us in every echo of their names
feel them say amen to what is, has been, and will be.

We feel them standing in every silent question and answer
posed and offered in family pictures

just as some future version of you or me
will feel you standing and hear your echo.

We are standing because that is the gift we are given,
and is the gift we have to give. We are standing at Sinai,

standing in the desert cold
and the heavens fill with sun like a breath overflowing and true,

the kind of breath you take to sing or shout or run for joy
because you can. We are standing in the lush summer heat,

nothing more or less than a regular morning
when a crow calls light, light, light

and the world keeps spinning.
We are standing, we are standing.

© 2018 Yoni Hammer-Kossoy. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Find Yoni on Facebook and Twitter.

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: Shalom Hammer-Kossoy

Shemini: G-d on Tiptoes

Posted on: March 29th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

still-small-voiceEarly in this week’s Torah portion, a very simple line appears: “…the glory of G-d appeared unto all the people.” (Leviticus 9:23) The simplicity stands in contrast to the scene from parashat Yitro in which G-d appears in smoke and fire, the earth quaking. Here, G-d’s glory arrives without fanfare. This meditation for parashat Shemini is the mirror of my Yitro meditation, “G-d’s Voice.” The prayer maintains the structure of the first, borrowing the forth stanza and the closing lines, setting up both connection and contrast. This appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

G-d on Tiptoes
What if G-d arrived unannounced?
No smoke. No thunder.
A gentle appearance of radiance and love.

What if G-d snuck in on tiptoes?
No earthquake. No blast of the shofar.
A luminous presence of wonder and glory.

What if G-d’s voice whispered in your ear,
So quiet that you had to hold your breath to hear?
A silent surrender of hope and faith.

What if holiness packed the empty space with light
As your lungs filled with the one divine breath
Together with every other living being?

What if G-d’s voice is as near
As your willingness to listen quietly
To the soul of the universe,
As a sense of calm and peace
Pass through you?

What if that moment
Is now?

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

Postscript: After a friend assured me that the Torah’s paucity of language assumes we know, precisely from Yitro, that G-d’s arrival is full of wonder and terror, he then said: “Of course, we do have the image of the still, small voice.” (Kings 19:12) Here’s another link to “G-d’s Voice.”

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.

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Yitro: G-d’s Voice

Posted on: February 3rd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

voice1Together, standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Jewish people witness the moment when G-d descends to the mountaintop to enter into a covenant with Israel. This Shavuot meditation, based on Parashat Yitro (Ex. 19:16-19) asks us to imagine that moment, the very moment when G-d’s glory touches the earth. It appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

G-d’s Voice
What if G-d’s voice was so near
That your bones rattled
As thunder echoed inside your chest?

What if G-d’s voice was so near
You could feel the wind hit your face
As your feet seemed to slip on shaking ground?

What if awe and wonder surrounded you,
So close that your knees buckled,
As a pillar of fire from heaven descends to earth?

What if holiness packed all empty space with light
As your lungs filled with the one divine breath
Together with every other living being?

What if G-d’s voice is as near
As your willingness to remember
The moment we stood together on Sinai,
Amid the smoke and the lightning,
Hearing the great blast of the shofar?

What if that moment
Is now?

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

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Postscript:  If you like this prayer, you might also enjoy: “To Hear Your Voice,” “I Saw G-d” and “In Plain Sight.”

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: Celebration Church

The Season of Counting

Posted on: March 26th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

HHope CountingThis is a meditation on counting. Counting as a spiritual practice is a reminder to stay present in the current moment, the task at hand and that we are on a journey. Beginning the second night of Passover we count the days until Shavuot. By Counting the Omer we remember the journey from the depths of slavery to the heights of G-d’s Holy Presence. This piece appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

The Season of Counting
This is the season of counting:
Of counting days and nights,
Of counting the space between slavery of the body
And freedom of the soul.

This is a season of seeing:
Of seeing earth and sky,
Of seeing renewal in the land
And renewal in our hearts.

This is a season of journey:
Of inner journeys and outer journeys
Taking us places that need us,
Places that we need.

This is the season of counting,
The season of joyous anticipation,
Of wondrous waiting,
In devotion and awe,
For our most precious gift,
The gift that binds our hearts to each other across the millennia,
The gift that binds our souls to G-d’s Holy Word.

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

Postscript: Here are links to prayers and meditations for each week of counting the Omer and Shavuot:

  • Week One: Chesed (Lovingkindness, Love, Benevolence)
  • Week Two: Gevurah (Discipline, Justice, Restraint, Awe)
  • Week Three: Tiferet (Beauty, Harmony, Compassion, Truth)
  • Week Four: Netzach (Eternity, Endurance, Fortitude, Ambition)
  • Week Five: Hod (Humility, Splendor)
  • Week Six: Yesod  (Foundation, Bonding)
  • Week Seven: Malchut – Nobility, Sovereignty, Leadership)
  • Shavuot

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: Jan Zabransky on logopond.com

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