Posts Tagged ‘Tehillim’

 

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

Abundance

Posted on: April 1st, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A new meditation on the flow of energy and abundance. The third stanza echoes Psalm 114:4, “The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like young sheep,” shifting the tone from meditation, to praise and hope for tomorrow. The final stanza closes with a blessing.

Abundance
The heavens sing to the stars.
The stars whisper to the sun.
The sun caresses the sea.
The sea dances with the land.
The land shares its gifts,
For abundance fills creation
With energy and light
And I breathe glory into my veins.

Cast your hearts to the rhythm of silence,
The pulse of eternity,
The wisdom of love,
The radiance surrounding us all.

Then, the mountains will skip like rams once more,
The hills like young sheep.
The rivers will roar
And the sky will shimmer in the flow of bounty from G-d,
The Source of all blessings.

Cast your fears to the wind,
Your doubts to the breeze,
Your losses to the earth.
Open your hearts,
And let the heavens sing to you.

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

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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: Alden Solovy

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

Let Tranquility Reign

Posted on: January 18th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Pathway of Protection Psalm 121 8 jpegThis is a prayer for peace, yearning for the day when all peoples will live together in harmony. It’s my first attempt to emulate paytanim of old – the liturgical song writers – by weaving lines of Psalms into a prayer. It includes the closing couplets of Psalms 120, 121 and 122, in both Hebrew and English. Special thanks to papercut artist Deborah Tepper for allowing me to illustrate this with “Pathway of Protection,” which is based on the closing line of Psalm 121. This prayer appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

Let Tranquility Reign
Some days,
Ancient One,
Some days the prayers
Of Your people
Are so close
We can hold them in our hands,
Feel them with our eyes,
Taste them with our breath.
They surround our hearts
To become our yearning.
They surround our song,
To become our grieving.
They surround our souls,
To become our pleading.

“My soul has dwelled too long
Among those who hate peace.
I am for peace, but when I speak of it
They are for war.”
:רַבַּת שָׁכְנָה-לָּהּ נַפְשִׁי, עִם שׂוֹנֵא שָׁלוֹם
:אֲנִי-שָׁלוֹם וְכִי אֲדַבֵּר, הֵמָּה לַמִּלְחָמָה

When will peace come,
Source of Peace,
When will sorrow be vanquished?
When will tranquility reign?

“Adonai will guard you from all harm;
G-d will guard your soul.
Adonai will guard your going and coming;
Now and  evermore.”
:יְהוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל-רָע, יִשְׁמֹר אֶת-נַפְשֶׁךָ
:יְהוָה יִשְׁמָר-צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ, מֵעַתָּה וְעַד-עוֹלָם

For You are our Hope.
Our Comfort.
Our Blessing.
Let those who cherish life
Bless this day and every day.

“For the sake of my comrades and companions,
I shall say: ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the House of Adonai our God
I will seek your good.”
:לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי, אֲדַבְּרָה-נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ
:לְמַעַן בֵּית-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, אֲבַקְשָׁה טוֹב לָךְ

Let these prayers ascend
To the lofty heights,
So that the nations,
And peoples of the earth,
Will rejoice in holiness,
Will rejoice in splendor,
And will rejoice, together, in righteousness.

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

Postscript: Psalms 120-122 are the first three of 15 Songs of Ascent. Along with the Barchi Nafshi, Psalm 104, these Psalms are traditionally said each Shabbat afternoon from the Shabbat after Simchat Torah until (but not including) Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Pesach. The translation from the Psalm 122 couplet is from Siddur Sim Shalom, which uses “comrades and companions” in lieu of the more literal “brothers and friends.”

My other prayers for peace include: “When Peace Comes: A Meditation,” “Children of Gazas, Children of Israel,” and “For Peace in the Middle East.”

Thanks again to papercut artist Deborah Tepper for allowing me to illustrate this with “Pathway of Protection.” She explained that it was commissioned by the Jewish Federation in Kalamazoo, MI, to honor a Righteous Gentile in their community. The women was a teenager during the Holocaust. Her family hid and protected two Jewish children. It was “the family’s love of humanity and belief in God that guided them to protect the going and coming of the Jewish children, while they were in hiding from the Nazis,” Deborah wrote. “The family remained tranquil and loving through their ordeal.” Deborah previously allowed me to use “The Joy of Shabbat – Lecha Dodia” to illustrate “Come Beloved.”

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Photo Source: Deborah Tepper, papercut image used with permission

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