Posts Tagged ‘service’

 

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.

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Photo Source: Lagniappe = A little bit extra

Let this Day

Posted on: January 3rd, 2016 by Alden No Comments

Jewish ZodiacAs we move from celebrating the arrival of a new secular year to living day-to-day, here’s a prayer about making the most of our time here on earth. May 2016 bring us all blessings and peace.

Let this Day
G-d,
Help me to use this day wisely,
And with care,
Planting laughter in the hours,
And dedication in the moments,
In service to You,
In service to myself,
In service to humanity.

Let my inner wisdom shine
And my talents burst forth,
Bringing the gifts You gave me
To the works of my hands
And the works of my heart.
Let this day be for blessing.
Let this day be for healing.
Let this day be for joy.

G-d,
My time is like water in the desert,
Precious and scarce,
Giving life, giving hope.
Let this day be for creativity and discovery.
Let this day be for curiosity and imagination.
Let this day be for excitement and adventure.
So that the heavens smile on me
And Your creation calls me ‘friend.’

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

Postscript: Here are more prayers about time and using time wisely: “Leaving,” “Arriving,” “Now,” “Another Year: An Introspection” and “In This Turning.”

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “My time is like water in the desert, precious and scarce…” http://bit.ly/1P9hJeS Prayer for using time wisely by @ToBendLight

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Photo Source: Klau Library Hebrew Union College, as appearing in the Jerusalem Post

Quick Prayer for Compassion

Posted on: July 19th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

compassion kids huggingHere’s another in my “Quick Prayer” series, short prayers focused on a particular topic. The last line includes a choice to use either Hebrew or English for the concept of repairing the world, with the choice separated by a slash (“/”). Here’s another prayer “For Compassion.”

Quick Prayer for Compassion
G-d of mercy,
You endowed us with sympathy and compassion,
Giving us moments of rejoicing
And moments of sorrow.
Help me to turn them both into blessings.
Let me remember the joys,
So that I bring them into the world as hope.
Let me remember the pain,
So that I bring it into the world as healing.

Blessed are You, G-d of love,
Let Your gifts fill our days,
Let Your wisdom fills our hearts,
In service to tikkun olam / repairing the world.

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

Postscript: This prayer can also be used during Elul and during the Counting of the Omer. For a related but harder-edged prayer, see “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

Tweetable! Here’a suggested tweet. Please tweet it (with link): Lovely “Quick Prayer for Compassion” by @tobendlight at: https://tobendlight.com/?p=13322

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Photo Source: A Yoga Life

Fire and Water

Posted on: August 31st, 2014 by Alden No Comments

SunsetLove and despair can be like fire. Truth can be like water, keeping the fires that fuel our emotions – the passions that make us human – in the proper balance. This is a quick meditation on love, despair and truth.

Fire and Water
One day
The fire of despair
Will sear your aching heart.
And when you wake
From this dream of death
You will feel a vital new organ
Beating in your chest.

G-d of Old,
Let the fires of grief
Lift me toward You.

One day
The fire of love
Will sear your longing eyes.
And when you wake
From this dream of life
You will see a vital new light
Shining from your face.

G-d of Old,
Let the fires of joy
Lift me toward You.

One day
The still waters of truth
Will sooth your yearning soul.
And when you enter G-d’s word
You will surrender to awe and majesty,
Holiness will fill your hands
With righteousness and charity,
Hope and peace will follow in your path.
And your life will shimmer with holiness.

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

Postscript: See also “The Cut that Heals” and “Witnessing: A Meditation,” as well as “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger,” “Shame.” Please take a moment to learn about my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

The Details of Beauty

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

 

IMG_5616A gift for Shabbat. A reminder. A reminder for those in sorrow and grief, those who are tired, numb and especially to those who’ve run to bomb shelters all week. Shabbat Shalom.

The Details of Beauty
Remember
The details of beauty
With your eyes.
The autumn leaf,
A baby’s cry,
Small wonders to remind you
Of joy and wonder.

Remember
The details of love
With your breath.
The soft smile
And gentle hand,
Small wonders to remind you
Of awe and majesty.

Remember
The details of faith
With your pulse,
The quiet prayer,
The hymn of glory,
Small wonders to remind you
Of devotion and service.

G-d of Old,
The details of beauty
Surround us.
Love and faith are
Our inheritance.
Teach us to see clearly in each day
The small wonders
You set before us.
To take them in,
To feel their power
And to rejoice.

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

Postscript: Here are more prayers with a similar theme: “This MomentBeing Present,” “Leaving” and “Small Moments.” If you haven’t yet, please take a look at my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing, and consider ordering a copy, where some of these prayers appear.

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: Alden Solovy

 

 

Lech Lecha 5774: For Service

Posted on: October 12th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

thumbs_lech%20lechaIn Lech Lecha, G-d tells Avram that he will be a blessing to humanity. “…and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) With the change of one vowel, the Midrash relates, the Hebrew word for ‘blessing’ becomes ‘spring of water.’ And so, by blessing, we heal, we purify, we connect each other to G-d. For Lech Lecha 5774, I’ve replaced the metaphor of being a ‘lamp’ with being a ‘well’ of love. Ultimately, this is a prayer about living a life of service. The original will appear in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

For Service (Lech Lecha 5774)
G-d of our fathers,
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
G-d of our mothers,
Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel,
Open my heart to serve others
With joy and thanksgiving.
Remove ego, judgment and self-will
So that I am present with kindness and understanding.
Make me a tool of Your hand,
An echo of Your voice,
A well, overflowing with Your love.
Grant me the wisdom to offer myself willingly, without fear.
Fill me with compassion and grace,
Vitality and endurance,
So that my service becomes a blessing
In heaven and on earth.

Blessed are You, G-d of Old,
You set Your people on a noble path,
To serve with love.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Other prayers that touch on the theme of service include: “Giving Thanks,” “To Hear Your Voice” and “To Know Your Word.”

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Photo Source: Rebecca Gottesman – Fine Art

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Cry, No More

Posted on: September 26th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

4give yoselfThis prayer is about having compassion for ourselves while repairing the damage we’ve done to self and others. I wrote it after my first Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, my first in Israel as an oleh chadash. I use it on Yom Kippur and during the Counting the Omer, day 10, “compassion in discipline.” It appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Cry, No More
Cry no more for the sins of the past.
Rejoice in your repentance and your return.
For this is the day that G-d made
To lift you up from your sorrow and shame,
To deliver you to the gates of righteousness.

Remember this:
Love is the crown of your life
And wisdom the rock on which you stand.
Charity is your staff
And justice your shield.
Your deeds declare your kindness
And your works declare your devotion.

Cry no more for your fears and your dread.
Rejoice in your blessings and your healing.
For this is the day that G-d made
To raise your countenance and hope,
To deliver you to the gates of holiness.

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

Postscript: “This is the day that G-d made” (Psalms 118:24) is used in our liturgy, including the service of praises, Hallel. Here are links to prayers for Elul, prayers for Rosh Hashana, prayers for Yom Kippur and prayers for Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial 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: Gospel Newsroom

Awake You Slumberers!

Posted on: September 22nd, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

“Awake, ye sleepers from your slumber, and rouse you from you from your lethargy. Scrutinize your deeds and return in repentance.”רמב”ם

Are you awake? Are you listening? Are you fully present in this moment? Are you fully present in your life? Are you fully present in G-d’s world? When you hear the call of the Shofar on Yom Kippur, when the great Tekiah sounds, will you be ready to rise up and live a life in service to G-d’s holy word?

Here are links to five meditations about waking up to some of G-d’s gifts – truth, joy, holiness, love and Torah – posted now in anticipation of Yom Kippur. They follow the same rhythm and structure: an introduction of three short stanzas; the assertion that G-d’s gifts are present in the universe; a call to reengage with purpose (“Awake you slumberers!”); a reminder of what we may have forgotten; and a call to action.

Here is a taste of “Let Joy:”

“…joy is in the dawn and the dusk,
The silence and the great expanse,
The flow of light from G-d’s grace,
Divine wonder and awe,
Calling out to you dear sisters and brothers:
‘Awake you slumberers!
Awake you who sleepwalk through…”

Are you ready to “Let Truth,” “Let Joy,” “Let Holiness,” “Let Love” and “Let Torah” guide your life? Each of these meditations is aimed at helping us back to G-d’s gifts. And each of these links also includes audio of the meditation.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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The Cut that Heals

Posted on: September 15th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

healings-hands-heart By Marie FinneganIn the Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall, on a sunny, breezy, Jerusalem afternoon, I saw a young woman wearing a deep blue shoulderless top reading an Israel guide book. She had dark hair, a lovely face with high cheekbones and eyes that matched her blouse. Her arms – from wrist to mid-bicep, all around – were covered with scars. She appeared to be a cutter, wearing openly the marks of her pain. She laughed with a friend as they planned their next adventure. The pain she made manifest on her body seemed completely absent in her manner. I left with the vision of a lovely woman barely in her 20’s, who had been through some sort of hell, enjoying a beautiful day. This is what I wrote.

The Cut that Heals
What if I opened my heart
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Joy with beauty with love?

Yes, my child,
You would overflow
With radiance and splendor,
With wonder and thanksgiving.

What if I opened my eyes
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Grief with loss with desolation?

No, my child,
You would overflow
With kindness and grace,
With awe and compassion.

What if I opened my hands
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I drown in the work of repairing the world
In the depths of need and despair?

No, my child,
You would rise up
With strength and wisdom
A well of mercy,
A beacon of light at the gates of healing.

Soul of the Universe,
I put my trust in You.
Open my heart and my eyes,
Open my hands and my life,
To the fullness of glory
And the mystery of creation,
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation.
Lead me on the path of service
To Your Word and Your world.

Remember this, dear ones:
Love and loss are the same gift.
Grief and joy the same cloth.
Faith and doubt the same path.
The cut that wounds
Is the cut that heals.
When you rise up, renewed,
Tears and laughter will
Meet in the core of your being.
Grace and mercy will flow through you like water.
You will be a fountain of blessings,
A source of righteousness and charity,
And you will sing humble praises
To G-d’s holy name.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here is “Cutting, Prayer to End Self-Mutilation” and a prayer called “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

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 Credit: Healing Hands, Healing Heart by Marie Finnegan on Metta Refuge

Let Torah

Posted on: February 25th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

The Torah is waiting for you. Not just to study it. Not just to know it. To live it. This is the latest in a series of prayers that invoke a prophetic voice, prayers that call on us to serve the Source of All Being, including: “Let Truth,” “Let Joy,” “Let Holiness” and “Let Love.” Each one ends with a call to action. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below (website only). The text follows.

Let Torah
Let Torah hold your moments
Carry your days,
Lift your years.

Let Torah fill your hands,
Nourish your breath,
Refresh your heart.

Let Torah sustain your words,
Enliven your deeds
Lead you home.

For Torah is in each life and each generation,
In the yearning for G-d and in G-d’s yearning for us,
The flow of secrets from Sinai,
Divine guidance and grace,
Calling out to you dear sisters and brothers:
‘Awake you slumberers!
Awake you who wander empty and lonely without wonder and awe.
Have you forgotten this precious gift?
Have you forsaken your past and your future?
Have you traded your birthright for empty promises?’

This, then, is G-d’s command:
Let Torah hold you,
Fill you,
Sustain you.
Let Torah guide you into radiance and mystery.
Study and learn,
Question and seek,
Hear and grow,
Lifting your life in sacred service.
Let Torah be your breath and your heartbeat.

Blessed are You, Source of Torah.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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