Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

 

Stones of Remembrance

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

800px-Beach_stones_and_sandThis meditation is based on four lines in Tetazveh (Exodus 28:9-12) instructing the creation of stone shoulder fasteners for the high priest’s Ephod (see postscript). Called avnei zikaron, remembrance stones, they were engraved with the names of the 12 tribes, the heritage of the Israelite people. This meditation asks: whose names will you carry as your heritage? It appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Stones of Remembrance
Whose names
Will you engrave upon your shoulders
When you stand before G-d in prayer?

Whose names
Will you carry in your heart
As you sing songs of blessing and praise?

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our ancestors:
Abraham and Sarah;
Rebecca and Isaac;
Leah, Jacob, and Rachel;
Moses, Miriam, and Aaron; and
________________________.
[add names from biblical times who are meaningful to you]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our sages:
Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Nachman;
B’ruriah, Yalta, and Ima Shalom;
The Rambam and the Tur;
Rabbis Regina Jonas and Abraham Joshua Heschel; and
________________________.
[add names of sages of the past who are meaningful to you]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of our teachers:
________________________.
[add names of current scholars and teachers who have influenced you]

These are the stones of remembrance,
The righteous and the driven,
The certain and the seeker,
The silent and the outspoken,
The steadfast and the heartbroken,
Who have led us,
Taught Your Torah,
And rallied congregations and assemblies
To Your service.

Let my name,
One day,
Be worthy.
Let my life
Become a tribute to Your wondrous works,
A remembrance of Your gifts throughout the generations.

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

Postscript: The Ephod was an apron covering the High Priest’s tunic and robe, serving as the place where the Choshen, the breastplate, was fastened. The Soncino/Hertz commentary says the engravings were to remind the people of their unity; the Stone Chumash says they reminded G-d of the righteousness of the people. The Women’s Torah Commentary notes that “inscriptions asking G-d to ‘remember’ supplicants for good attest to the implicit hope that G-d will always be mindful of the people and presumably bring them blessings.”

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

Devarim 5775: Teachers of Israel

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

480px-Rembrandt_-_Moses_with_the_Ten_Commandments_-_Google_Art_ProjectWe begin the final book of Torah this week with Parashat Devarim, detailing the last weeks in the life of Moses, in which he shifts from great leader to the first teacher of Torah. He becomes, in earnest, Moshe Rabeinu, Moses our teacher. This is a prayer for pure and humble hearts for today’s teachers of Torah.

Teachers of Israel
Teachers of Israel,
Keep your Torah humble
And your hearts pure.
Keep joy before your eyes
And gratitude before your heart.
Know this day that your wisdom
Is a gift from heaven.
Your knowledge is a tribute
To your Maker.
Then, your teaching will become
An offering of service
To the G-d of our people.

Teachers of Israel,
Keep your Torah pure
And your hearts humble.
Keep righteousness before your eyes
And understanding before your heart.
Teach in the fullness of joy.

To Praise, not to be praised.
To Bless, not to be blessed.
To Glorify, not to be glorified.
To Extol, not to be extolled.
To Sanctify, not to be sanctified.

So that your wisdom blesses the world,
Blesses the nations,
And blesses the people Israel.

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

Postscript: Here are more prayers for Torah teachers and scholars: “Sages,” “To the Streets,” “For the Gift of Torah Scholarship” and “For the Joy of Learning.”

Tweetable! Here’a suggested tweet. If you like this prayer, please tweet this (including the link):
“Teachers of Israel, keep your Torah humble and your hearts pure…” A prayer for our teachers: https://tobendlight.com/?p=13215

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/Google Art Project

Tetzaveh 5775: Stones of Remembrance

Posted on: February 24th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

800px-Beach_stones_and_sandThis meditation is based on four lines in Tetazveh (Exodus 28:9-12) instructing the creation of two stone shoulder fasteners for the high priest’s Ephod (see postscript). Called avnei zikaron, remembrance stones, the fasteners were engraved with the names of the 12 tribes. Here are three alternative uses: use it as a Jewish prayer (shown here); others may focus on their own religion; or it can be used as a universal prayer, including all teachers of faith and peace, from rabbis to Sufis, from Budda to Mother Teresa.

Stones of Remembrance
Whose names
Will you engrave upon your shoulders
When you stand before G-d
In prayer?

Whose names
Will you carry in your heart
As you sing songs
Of blessing and praise?

G-d,
Remember us in the name of
Our ancestors:  ________________________.
[Add meaningful names from Biblical times to the Second Temple, for example: Abraham, Miriam, Nachshon, Zilpah, etc.]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of
Our sages:  ________________________.
[Add names from the Second Temple to contemporary times, for example: Yochanan ben Zaki, Regina Jonas, etc.]

G-d,
Remember us in the name of
Our teachers:  ________________________.
[Add names from the contemporary period, for example: a scholar, teacher, author or friend.]

These are the stones of remembrance,
The righteous and the driven,
The certain and the seeker,
The women and the men
Who have led Your people,
Taught Your Torah,
And rallied congregations and assemblies
To Your service.

Let my name,
One day,
Be worthy.
Let my life
Become a tribute
To your wondrous works,
A remembrance of Your gifts
Throughout the generations.

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

Postscript: See also: “Sages,” “Tabernacle” and “The Statutes of Heaven.” The Ephod was an apron covering the tunic and robe and served as the place where the Choshen, the breastplate, was fastened. The Soncino (Hertz) commentary says the engravings were to remind the people of their unity in the service of G-d; the Stone (Scherman) commentary says that they reminded G-d of the righteousness of the people. The two concepts are inseparable. By remembering those who came before us in prayer, we remind both G-d of the righteous among us and ourselves of our unity before G-d.

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

Vayishlach 5775: Family Healing

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

Family Tree HealingIn this week’s Torah portion, Jacob attempts to reconcile with his brother. This is a prayer for healing family wounds. Much as Jacob prepared to encounter Esau, this is a prayer for the spiritual willingness to heal. Choices to tailor the prayer to particular family situations are in [brackets]; use these choices or your own language. This prayer appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Family Healing
G-d of Old,
Our family has been fractured,
Torn apart by _________________ [anger, violence, death, alcoholism, suicide, disease, mental illness, neglect, abuse, abandonment, finances],
Old wounds that have steeped into our bones and our blood,
Our thoughts and our words.
Release me from my anger and my guilt,
So I may see my kin with new eyes –
Their losses and fears,
Their pain and shame –
And therefore find a source of
Forgiveness and renewed love.

Well of Blessings,
Lead us to new vision and new wisdom,
The place where love rests safely in our hearts
And peace waits quietly in our hands.

G-d of Generations,
Grant healing to my family, speedily,
So that we may rejoice together in Your gifts,
With joy and thanksgiving.

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

Postscript: Here’s the prayer I posted for Vayishlach 5773, “The Descent,” a prayer about wrestling with angels. My prayer “For Family” includes a similar message to this prayer, but more softly stated. Here are prayers of family praise: “For the Patriarch,” “For the Matriarch,” “For Our Sisters,” “For Our Brothers” and “For the Family Historian.” This prayer first appeared on this site on November 8, 2012.

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. Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: Pinterest, Family Constellations

Vayeira: Fire Within

Posted on: November 7th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

1-heart-on-fireBound to an altar, saved at the last minute, neither blade nor sacrificial fire touched Isaac. Not physically, but he comes off the altar a different man and never speaks to his father again. This prayer is about the wounds we carry inside, the wounds no one else can see. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Fire Within
My burns
Cannot be seen on my flesh.
They are in my lungs
And in my eyes.
What medicine will halt the smoldering,
The smoke that suffocates from within?

My cuts
Cannot be seen on my skin.
They are in my heart
And in my throat.
What medicine will heal the bleeding,
The tide that floods from within?

Ancient One,
Release me from the fire and the knife:
The flame that consumes hope and joy,
The blade that destroys time and seasons.

Holy One,
Rock and Shelter,
Your medicine is love.
Your salve is holiness.
Your balm is life.

,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי
אֵל רְפוּאָה וּמַרְפֵּא
.מְקוֹר חַיִּים וְאַהֲבָה

Baruch atah, Adonai,
El r’fuah umarpei
M’kor chayim v’ahavah.

Blessed are You, Adonai,
God of health and healing,
Source of life and love.

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

Postscript: I originally conceived this as a prayer for men. Many men experience our internal struggles – fears, losses, shames, angers – as fire and knife. Although I don’t know if the metaphor holds for women, this piece seems more universally a prayer for healing than my other prayers for men. It first appeared on this site on Nov. 12, 2012.

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 credit: zoeyryanthoughts.com

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.”

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: Rebecca Gottesman – Fine Art

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Vayishlach: The Descent

Posted on: November 28th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” – Genesis 32:25

Sooner or later every man faces the trial of his life. This meditation is a metaphor for the inner journey, the inner struggle, the battle to find holiness and a new name. It’s another in my series of prayers and meditations for men.

The Descent
When your time comes
And you hear the call
To become a man of power and wisdom,
A warrior and a king,
You will descend beyond the shadows
Into the black cliffs of your soul,
Where fear stalks the hours,
And rage laughs at the abyss,
Where shame waltzes with pride,
And grief howls, unrestrained, with pleasure.

You will reach a narrow ridge
Above the hollows where other men were lost.
You will crawl on scree,
Cutting your hands and knees,
As you press hard
Against the trail,
Against the wind.

You will enter a cavern of darkness,
The unseen color of nothingness,
Where your voice echoes with dread,
And your heart beats with longing,
Where your breath smells of remorse
And your ears ring with lies and deceit.

When you reach bottom
Your enemy will attack,
With skill and cunning,
For you have set free the torment within,
The power of your anguish and your guilt.
The night will last beyond the rhythm of natural time
Until you forget if you are the holiness or the profane.
Only then the grip of unrighteous fury will weaken
And succumb to your strength.
Wounded but victorious,
You will be blessed by fire from the torch of heaven.
Its light will blend with the coming dawn.
In that moment you will finally see
The face of the man you fought.
You will know in your bones
That you must take him back with you into the light,
For it was you who invited him on the journey.

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

Postscript: Here are three more prayers and meditations for men: “My Work Remains,” “For the Lost” and “My Heart Knows What It Needs,” as well as a link to a list of all of my prayers for and about men.

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 Credit: Artable

Powerful Men

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

Here’s another prayer in my series for men. It’s a brief call to action — inspired by the men of ManKind Project around the world — summoning men to use their power in service of humanity. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

Powerful Men
Men of honor,
Men of strength,
The world yearns for you.
Your wisdom, your courage, your vitality.
The call has come.

Men of conscience,
Men of understanding,
Summon the energy that is deep in your belly,
Steeped into your bones,
That heats your blood and fires your eyes,
And hold it as rod and staff,
Guide and compass,
To build, to heal,
To honor, to bless.

G-d of Majesty,
Teach me to use this power
In service to others
In the name of holiness and love,
So that I become a source of compassion and grace,
A light of awe and wonder.

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

Postscript: Click here for a list of prayer and meditations for men. Two of my favorites are: “My Courage” and “My Work Remains.”

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 Source: Photo is © Gregory Tapler Photograpy; poster designed by Boysen Hodgson for MKP

Fire Within

Posted on: January 21st, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

1-heart-on-fireThe collective Jewish response to grief is joy, to attempt to live in joy no matter what. Not always an easy path, but it leads to a deep healing that allows the full spectrum of emotion into our lives. Joy and grief are welcome, because they are part of accepting G-d’s world as it is. Living in joy, with all our strength and energy, is part of claiming a stake in G-d’s future world, a world of complete happiness and peace, a world that is yet to come. This piece will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

Fire Within
My burns
Cannot be seen on my flesh.
They are in my lungs
And in my eyes.
What medicine will halt the smoldering,
The smoke that suffocates from within?

My cuts
Cannot be seen on my skin.
They are in my heart
And in my throat.
What medicine will heal the bleeding,
The tide that floods from within?

Ancient One,
Release me from the fire and the knife:
The flame that consumes hope and joy,
The blade that destroys time and seasons.

Holy One,
Rock and Shelter,
Your medicine is love.
Your salve is holiness.
Your balm is life.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d,
Eternal Source of wholeness and healing.

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

Postscript: I originally conceived this as a prayer for men. Many of us experience our internal struggles – fears, losses, shames, angers – as fire and knife. Although I don’t know if the metaphor holds for women, this piece seems more universally prayer for healing than other of my prayers for men.

If you like this prayer, post a link to your Facebook page, your blog or as part of a tweet. 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 consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo credit: zoeyryanthoughts.com

My Courage

Posted on: December 26th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Men, here’s an amazing truth. You have a deep well of courage, power and majesty inside of you. The challenge: tapping that power in ways that heal ourselves and the world. The Mankind Project is dedicated to leading men into that adventure. With their help, I’ve found all the resources needed for me to live bravely and freely, following my dream and my path, wherever it leads.

This prayer celebrates my community of men, Warriors who teach each other the art and the responsibility of being men. Thank you for these gifts. To listen as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

My Courage
My courage is in my heartbeat
And my open arms,
In my wisdom and my pulsing veins,
In trusting my vision and speaking my truth,
Gifts from you,
Dear brother,
Who taught me to use fear as a sword
To guide me,
Uplift me,
To set me free.

My power is in surrender
To the unknown,
In travelling the long road out
And finding the long road home,
In my embrace of joyous adventure,
Gifts from you,
Dear brother,
Who taught me to use courage as a shield
To protect me,
Support me,
To set me free.

My majesty is in my deeds
My word and my mission,
In a breath of crisp morning air,
And the shimmering sky at twilight,
Robes of humility and service,
Gifts from you,
Dear brother,
Who taught me to claim honor as my staff
And wisdom as my crown,
The integrity and compassion,
The vision and blessing,
That set me free.

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

Postscript: January 2012 will mark the second anniversary of my participation in the New Warrior Training Adventure. I’ll also leave for three months in Israel, part of a journey and a dream that might have gone unfulfilled without the support and wisdom of the Chicago community of MKP. Here’s a link to more prayers for and about men. One of my favorites is “My Work Remains.”

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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