Posts Tagged ‘tikkun olam’

 

Show Me

Posted on: July 24th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

What does G-d want from us? Our service to Torah, mitzvot and tikun olam. These actions are a source of holiness and love. Thank you to Joanne Fink and Zenspirations for use of the illustration.

Show Me
Show me the works of your hands
And the deeds of your heart
And I will cause holiness
To pass through you
Like the wind through the trees
Summoning your soul
To mingle with Mine.

Set your mind to all
That is kind and just,
Compassionate and good.

Set your hand to all
That is right and true,
Charitable and healing.

Incline your heart to all
That is righteous and holy,
Glorious and full of wonder.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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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: Zenspirations by Joanne Fink

Ki Teitzei 5775: Amalek Within

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Remember AmalekAmalek is the arch-villain of Torah. This week’s portion, Ki Teitzei, refers to an incident in Exodus just after the people crossed the Red Sea. The army of Amalek attacked Israel from behind, where the old and weak straggled. Here in Deuteronomy (25:17-19) we’re told: i) to remember the evil Amalek perpetrated, ii) to wipe out his descendants and iii) to blot out his name. The three paragraphs of this prayer correspond to these three commandments.

Amalek Within
We remember
The day you set upon us from behind.
The day you attacked
The weak, the faint, the exhausted and defenseless.
We remember your savagery and your glee,
Your malice and ruthless intent.
We remember the fear, the horror,
The shrieks and the cries.

Villain, coward,
Where do you hide?
Scattered among the nations?
Or have you quietly, secretly,
Infiltrated our lives,
Hardening our hearts to one another?
Children of Israel,
Each man, each woman,
Banish Amalek from within,
And he will be destroyed forever.

When we remember,
To love and to cherish,
To build and preserve,
To walk in the way of G-d,
Then this name,
This Amalek,
Will be blotted forever
From the face of the earth.
When we remember
The pain and suffering of others,
When we exile wickedness from our hearts,
Evil will disappear forever.
We will not forget.

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

Postscript: According to Targum, descendants of Amalek survived – among them Haman from the Book of Esther – and the remnant is dispersed among the nations, unrecognizable. The second paragraph of this prayer interprets the command to wipe about Amalek according to our sages who teach that part of Amalek can be found in each of us as the evil inclination.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “When we walk in the way of G-d, Amalek will be blotted forever…” Ki Teitzei prayer from @ToBendLight: http://ctt.ec/rXzNO+

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Photo Source: Sojourning with Jews

Shofetim: To the Streets

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

social_justiceOne of Torah’s famous instructions appears in this week’s parsha: “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue…” (Deut. 16:20) The context is establishing a legal system, but our ethos interprets it broadly as a call for justice in all areas of daily life. This prayer is a call to leave the safety and cloister of our institutions, to go into the streets to learn from the anguish of all people. The last two stanzas include in [brackets] alternative language to Hebrew terms.

To the Streets, Revised
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you seen, for yourself, the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of teens who starve their bodies and cut their limbs.
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?
Have you witnessed the violence and oppression
That divides us?
Of youths arrested for their color.
Of gangs and police waging war.
Of drugs and weapons in homes and schools.

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief,
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash [parables] to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah [lessons] to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar [ethics] to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch [religious rulings] to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah [scripture] and Mitzvot [commandments]
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heeding Your holy call to tikun olam [repair the world].

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

Postscript: Written as a Passover appeal for social justice, this would also serve as an alternative Yom Kippur reading, perhaps in conjunction with the Unataneh Tokef. Here’s a link to other prayers for social justice. Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover. This is an update to the original prayer, first posted April 3, 2014.

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: Progressive Charlestown

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

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: A Yoga Life

Shemot 5775: In Praise of Adoption

Posted on: January 8th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

Cousin Kid Group HugExodus begins with extraordinary examples of care for children: midwives Shiphrah and Puah refuse Pharoah’s order to kill newborn males; then, Moses is adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and nursed by his birth-mother. This week’s Torah prayer praises adoption. It’s the second in a new series on adoption that will appear in my forthcoming book Prayers for Healing the World. Optional language is shown in [brackets] and word choices are identified with a slash (/). Here’s my prayer “To Adopt a Child.”

In Praise of Adoption
G-d of Mercy,
Source of love and shelter,
Bless those who have taken children as their own,
Into their lives, into their homes,
With compassion and care,
Healing the world one small soul at a time.
Bless their lives with wisdom and strength,
Kindness and care,
So their children will be nurtured,
Protected and educated,
With joy and wonder.
Bless these families with health and safety,
Happiness and well-being.

Source of Life,
Bless those who hope to adopt,
Those who have waited
With anticipation [and with disappointment]
As the adoption process moves slowly, step-by-step.
Let the loving hand of adoption bring their lives
The richness of [family/a growing family],
The joys and challenges of parenting.
Bless, too, those who work and advocate
For children and for adoption.
May their energy and effort
Be a source of healing.

Father of the fatherless,
Mother of the motherless,
We are all Your children.
Watch over children and youth still waiting for families,
Still in need of hope and shelter,
And bring them speedily to a home of love and care.
Let Your light shine upon them.
Let Your mercy heal them.
Look with special favor on the children who
Are often left behind: orphans of war,
Children with special needs,
Youths and teens, children of color.

Holy One,
Bring the day when all children will know
The love of parents and the joy of family.
For wholeness.
For healing.
For peace.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to the prayer I posted for Shemot 5773, “Finding G-d.” Nine pregnancy and fertility prayers appear in Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing, including: “For Pregnancy,” “Loss of Pregnancy” and “Loss of Pregnancy (Husband/Partner).” Other prayers about family include: “On the Birth of a Child” and “On the Birth of Grandchildren.” For more prayers about family, click here.

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: Adoptive Families Circle

To the Streets, Revised

Posted on: November 25th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

social_justiceThis is a call to leaders to leave the safety and cloister of their institutions, to go into the streets to learn from the anguish of all people. Written as a Passover appeal for social justice, I’ve expanded the first stanza to recognize issues reflected and highlighted by the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Miss., and in the aftermath. In the last two stanzas, I’ve also added alternative language to Hebrew terms in [brackets] to make the prayer more accessible.

To the Streets, Revised
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you witnessed the violence and oppression
That divides us?
Of youths arrested for their color.
Of gangs and police waging war.
Of drugs and weapons in homes and schools.
Have you seen, for yourself, the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of teens who starve their bodies and cut their limbs.
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash [parables] to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah [lessons] to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar [ethics] to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch [religious rulings] to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah [scripture] and Mitzvot [commandments]
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heading Your holy call to Tikun Olam [repair the world].

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to other prayers for social justice. Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover. Here’s a link to the original prayer, posted April 3, 2014.

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. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

Photo Source: Progressive Charlestown

To the Streets

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

This is a Passover appeal for each of us to work for social justice. It’s written in the voice of the admonishing prophet, exhorting us to leave the shelter of prayer and study to go to the streets in service of healing the world. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

To the Streets
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you seen the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of youths who starve their bodies.
Of teens who cut their limbs.
Of adults who degrade each other.

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah and Mitzvot
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heeding Your holy call to tikun olam.

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover.

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.

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