Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

 

Meditation before the Vidui

Posted on: September 15th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

imageThis meditation is to help prepare for a thorough and honest self-assessment before the confession litany, the Vidui, traditionally recited five times on Yom Kippur. It’s recited on Rosh Hashanah and is used in Selichot services. Originally posted as a “Meditation before the Yom Kippur Vidui,” a friend suggested using a title that makes clear this can be used throughout Elul in preparation for the High Holy Days.

Meditation before the Vidui
G-d of Old,
Judge and Sovereign,
Healer and Guide:

Today I recount my deeds,
The sins I’ve committed,
The blessings I’ve bestowed.

Today I recall my year,
The challenges I’ve faced,
The decisions I’ve made.

Today I reach into my heart,
The moments of anger,
The moments of love.

By Your command
G-d of Mercy,
I lay bare the secrets within me,
Light and darkness,
My gentle hand and my clenched fist,
My strength and conceit,
Anger and fear.

By Your command
G-d of Wisdom,
I open myself to see truth,
Beauty and degradation,
The holy and the profane,
The victorious and the guilty.

By Your command
G-d of Salvation,
I reclaim all that I am
And all that I’ve done,
My pride and my shame,
Returning to You
So that I may redeem my days
With awe and righteousness.

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

Postscript: Note that the traditional Siddur includes a Vidui in Tachanun, but only in Israel. This prayer wasn’t conceived with regular use in mind. Thanks to Rabbi Joseph Meszler for the suggestion. This was originally published on Aug. 30, 2011.  Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim. Here’s a focused list of prayers for Elul, another one of prayers for Rosh Hashana, a list of prayers for Yom Kippur and one more for Sukkot. And here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Kedem Auction House

Meditation on the Vidui

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

ashamnuThis prayer was originally posted as a “Meditation after the Yom Kippur Vidui.” A friend pointed out that with a broader name for the prayer it — and my “Meditation Before the Yom Kippur Vidui” — can be used on Selichot, as well as throughout the month of Elul as preparation for the High Holy Days, the Yamim Noraim.

Meditation on the Vidui
For the sins I’ve committed against myself,
And for the sins I’ve committed against others,
I offer a new heart.

For the sins I’ve committed against my family,
And for the sins I’ve committed against my friends,
I offer new understanding.

For the sins I’ve committed against children,
And for the sins I’ve committed against adults,
I offer new restraint.

For the sins I’ve committed against men,
And for the sins I’ve committed against women,
I offer new vision.

For the sins I’ve committed against neighbors,
And for the sins I’ve committed against strangers,
I offer new insight.

For the sins I’ve committed against the powerful,
And for the sins I’ve committed against the weak,
I offer new wisdom.

For the sins I’ve committed against nations,
And for the sins I’ve committed against peoples,
I offer a new voice.

G-d of generations,
Source of forgiveness and grace,
For the sins that I remember,
And for the sins that I’ve forgotten,
I offer myself, in humble service,
To You, Your Word and Your Holy Name.

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

Postscript: Thanks to Rabbi Joseph Meszler for the suggestion. This was originally published on Aug. 31, 2011. Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim. Here’s a focused list of prayers for Elul, another one of prayers for Rosh Hashana, a list of prayers for Yom Kippur and one more for Sukkot. And here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Va-yehi Or

The Rhythm of Wonder

Posted on: May 22nd, 2016 by Alden No Comments

This meditation about radical amazement was inspired during a class on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. I wondered silently if it would be possible to write a prayer that captures the experience of radical amazement, thus creating a meditation to prepare the eyes and open the heart to awe and wonder. Here’s a link to read an essay about the allusions and metaphors in this meditation — also entitled “The Rhythm of Wonder,” on RitualWell.org.

The Rhythm of Wonder
When the mountains sing,
When the seas dance,
When a crescent moon glides the heavens
And the sun lifts day from night,
When the rivers waltz to hymns of rain,
And the oceans drum on cliffs of stone,
When the caper bush wakes
And the wild iris blooms,
Remember this,
It’s not the wind that lifts the eagle.
The eagle lifts the wind.

You are the love
That frees the baritone hills
And the pirouette skies,
A shaft of light to loose the crescendos of glory
And the colors of awe,
A heartbeat summoning the rhythm of wonder,
A yearning to hear the pulse of G-d.

When silence resounds with music,
When darkness radiates light,
When creation reaches up
From the core of the earth,
And eternity is a breeze
From the edge of the universe,
When the call to holiness shines brilliant
In the breathless dawn,
Remember this,
It’s not the prayer that lifts the blessing.
The blessing lifts the prayer.

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

Postscript: This prayer was inspired during a class called “Jewish Thinkers and their Worlds,” taught by Peta Jones Pellach, director of educational activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. During class

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

The Way of Spices

Posted on: May 15th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

Spices IndiaHere’s a new song of the spiritual traveler. An extended metaphor, it’s about understanding the nature of each moment and taking those moments into ourselves as gifts.

The Way of Spices
When you reach the way of spices
Fiery and sweet
Cinnamon and ginger, cumin and cardamom
Inhale with all of your senses
Taste this moment
Mixtures familiar and new
Subtle and strong
Salt and pepper
The way of ending and beginning.

When you reach the path of color
Bold and bright
Azure and gold, crimson and amber
Breathe the hues through your chest
See this moment
A palace of refracted light
Sparkling radiant
Brilliant and luminous
The path of beauty and holiness.

When you reach the road of fabric
Coarse and fine
Burlap and silk, flax and silver thread
Remove your gloves and shoes
Feel this moment
The tapestry that weaves and reweaves
Seen and unseen
Stitched and embroidered
The road of being and becoming.

When you reach the canyon of shadow
Dark and steep
Unknown and unseen, shapeless and shifting
Let courage guide your steps
Ascend this moment
A trail of challenge and victory
Power and perseverance
Bravery and honor
The canyon of wisdom and grace.

When you reach the passage to your heart
Delight in the grandeur
Savor the brilliance
And voyage into adventure
Peace will be your companion
And joy will be your guide
Your nights will be bright with starlight
And your days will shimmer with splendor.

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

Postscript: Other songs of the spiritual traveler include: “Come Walk,” “All is Well,” “River,” “Bird is Bird” and “About the Rainbow.”

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: WikiMedia Commons

R’fuat HaNefesh: Healing the Soul (General)

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

mind-body-soulThis brief healing prayer is for all those whose hearts ache, those with troubled souls. It is a general version of “R’fuat HaNefesh: Healing the Soul,” which is said for a specific person.

R’fuat HaNefesh (General)
G-d of the spirit,
G-d of the soul, the breath and the wind,
Look with kindness and favor on those
Whose hearts ache, crushed and fallow,
Whose hearts yearn, empty and broken.
G-d of the nefesh, ruach and neshama,
Guide their souls
Back to wonder and mystery,
Sacred moments and glorious days,
So that they know the power of Your love
And the wisdom of Your word.
May their souls shine,
With light and blessing
For our people Israel.

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

Postscript: Other prayers for healing include: “For Surgery,” “Upon Recover from Surgery,” “For a Critically Ill Mother,” “For a Critically Ill Child,” “For a Critically Ill Father” and “For Healing the Spirit.” All of them appear in Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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: GenaLivings.com

Breathe

Posted on: July 12th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Sky and LakeThis prayer is a simple reminder to breathe and the gifts that coming from simply being. It includes a space to include a name, yours or someone else’s, so that you can use it as reminder to yourself or as a hope for someone else. Six other pieces of mine include the instruction to breathe. Three of my favorites are: “Sing Praises,” “We Are Music” and “Invitations.”

Breathe
Listen, dear __________ (your name or another name),
Remember to breathe,
Remember to fill your chest
With the sweet taste of living,
To fill your heart
With a gentle gift of peace.
The breath of God
Surrounds you.
Let it flow through you.
The pulse of the universe
Beats with you.
Let it enliven you.
Invite your inhale,
The willingness of this moment.
Release your exhale,
And surrender to being.
Fill your lungs.
Feel them.
Feed them.
Heal them.
And you will know,
The majesty of now,
And the mystery
Of forever.

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

Postscript: My three other prayers with the instruction to breathe are: “Choosing to Heal,” “Let Your Heart Stir” and “Rules for Being Me in Jerusalem.”

Tweetable! Here’a suggested tweet. Please tweet it (with link): “…fill your heart with a gentle gift of peace. The breath of God surrounds you…” https://tobendlight.com/?p=13239

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

Beha’alotcha 5775: Three Quick Prayers for Healing (Revised)

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

El Na Refanah LaAt the end of this week’s Torah portion, Moses says a quick five-word prayer for healing his sister Miriam: “Please G-d, heal her now.” (Numbers 12:13) Here are three revisions of my “Quick Prayers for Healing:” a general version, asking for healing for all in need; one that names a specific individual in need of healing; and a third for individuals to say for their own healing. The revisions each include a new line reflecting Moses’ prayer for Miriam. Note that optional lines appear in [brackets], gender choices are identified with a “/” slash and the place to insert a name is shown with a blank line. The original versions of these prayers appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Quick Prayer for Healing – General (Revised)
G-d of love,
Cast the light of health and well-being
On the injured, the infirm and the insecure,
All who yearn for Your healing hand.
Bless them with healing of body
Healing of soul
And healing of spirit.
Please G-d, heal them now.
Grant all in need a full and complete recovery.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Source of Life.

Quick Prayer for Healing – Specific (Revised)
G-d of love,
Cast the light of health and well-being on
________________ (add name),
[His/her family]
And all who are injured, infirm or insecure,
Those who yearn for Your healing hand.
Bless them with healing of body
Healing of soul
And healing of spirit.
Please G-d, heal them now.
Grant all in need a full and complete recovery.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Source of Life.

Quick Prayer for My Healing (Revised)
G-d of love,
Cast the light of health and well-being on me [and on my family]
And all who are injured, infirm or insecure.
We yearn for Your healing hand.
Bless us with healing of body
Healing of soul
And healing of spirit.
Please G-d, heal us now.
Grant all in need a full and complete recovery.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Source of Life.

© 2012, 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Other prayers in my “Quick Prayers” series include: “Quick Meditation for Today,” “Quick Meditation at Noon,” “Your Name: Quick Prayer at Dusk” and “Quick Meditation at Night.” “Quick Prayer for Healing” was first posted on October 3, 2012. The other two prayers were originally posted together as “Quick Prayers for Healing” on January 29, 2013.

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: Jewish Medicine

Soul Shine

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Soul Shine PlateThis meditation is about allowing our souls to fill our hearts, to fill our minds and to fill our bodies with the radiance of heaven, so that we can bring that light into the world as tikun olam, the act of repairing the world. The meditation recognizes the majesty within each of us, declaring that that glory must be shared. This piece appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Soul Shine
Let your soul shine
In your chest.
Let your heart sparkle
In your eyes.
Let joy
Fill your limbs with radiance.
Let love
Fill your hands with splendor.
You are the instrument
Of G-d’s music,
The tool
Of repairing the earth.
You are the voice
Of wonder and awe,
The song
Of hope and tomorrow.

This gift,
This majesty within,
Is not yours to keep.
It is not yours to hold.
It is not yours to hide.

Let your soul shine
Luminous, elegant,
Brave and true,
A beacon of praise,
A lantern of song,
A summons for holiness
To enter our lives
And this world.

Let your soul shine.
Set it free.
Set it free to fill the space
Between the here
And the unknown
With abundance
And with blessings.

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

Postscript: If you enjoyed this meditation, you might also like: “Fresh Delights,” “Come Walk,” “Let Me” and “This is the Place.” And for musical accompaniment, here’s a link to the Allman Brothers Band singing “Soulshine.”

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: tomboyArt on Esty

Vayechi 5775: On the Birth of a Child

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Newborn-Baby-FeetIn Vayechi, Jacob “blesses” his children. They read like praises for some and curses for others. This is consistent with the parenting skills exhibited in Genesis, where parents play favorites, inflict trauma and neglect children. Every child deserves a loving parent, rich in blessings. For Vayechi 5775, here’s a prayer to be said by new parents who wish to provide nothing less. Gender choices are identified with a slash, such as “him / her.” Content choices are identified in [brackets.] This prayer appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and HealingTo listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

On the Birth of a Child
Precious child,
Wonder of creation,
You are proof of Divine love,
Witness to our Maker’s Glory,
Witness to the blessed partnership
Between [woman, man][us] and G-d.
What makes me worthy of you?
What makes me able to gently guide you on your sacred path,
Your own journey to wisdom, charity, righteousness and Torah?

Father of the universe,
Mother of creation,
Be my guide and teacher,
As I father/mother/parent this new life,
This precious gift.
Give me humility, compassion and wisdom
To teach her/him Torah and Mitzvot
Through my actions and my life,
So that we become each other’s blessings.

Gracious G-d, be my partner in raising this child,
For this gift is not mine.
It is ours to nurture, to grow,
And to give back to the world for tikun olam.

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

Postscript: For Veyechi 5773, I posted a prayer called “Near the End: A Meditation.” For prayers about family, click here. See also: “On the Birth of Grandchildren.” This prayer first appeared on this site on June 25, 2010.

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. Please take a moment to explore my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

Finding My Beshert

Posted on: October 5th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Beshert HappensHere’s a new prayer for finding a life partner, a “beshert.” More people have asked me to write on this topic than all others combined. It’s been on my list and unaddressed for years. I can’t explain why it’s taken so long, especially since I’ve written prayers for recognizing romantic love, “For New Love,” and about maintaining that love, “For an Open Heart.” Perhaps it’s because I struggle with the idea of a divinely-ordained life-partner. Note: language choices in this piece are identified by a slash “/” and optional inserts with [brackets]. To who are looking for a beshert, blessings on your journey.

Finding My Beshert
G-d of joy and celebration,
Of generations and futures,
Bless me as I begin/continue
My search for a life partner,
A man/woman for me to love and to hold dear,
A man/woman to love me and hold me dear.
For this is Your will and Your way,
That couples should bond to serve each other in joy
And to serve You through the fullness of family,
In mourning and in rejoicing,
Marking the days with thanksgiving and grace.

[My search has taken longer than I’d imagined.
Grant me the courage to continue
And the faith that my wait will be rewarded.]

G-d of our fathers and mothers,
Lead me wisely to a man/woman
Of character and strength,
Wisdom and understanding,
Torah and mitzvot,
A man woman of ____________ [add your own hopes and dreams].
Lead him/her swiftly to me,
A gift beyond measure.
Open our hearts to each other
And help us to keep our souls
Pure in service to each other and our family/families
All the days of our lives.

Blessed are You,
Source of blessing and love.

.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, מְקוֹר הַבְּרָכָה וְהָאַהֲבָה

Baruch atah, m’kor hab’rachah v’ha’ahavah.

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

Postscript: “For New Love” and for “For an Open Heart” appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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: The Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay

 

“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