Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

Meditation: Numbering the Stars

Stars and new moon and clouds

This meditation speaks of our ancestors and future generations to come and was inspired by several biblical passages: (1) "He numbers the stars and calls them each by name" (Psalm 147:4); (2) the Torah portion Toldot, which means "generations"; (3) the Torah portion Lekh lekha ("God took Abraham outside and said, 'Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them... so shall your offspring be'" (Genesis 15:5); (4) "Lift high your eyes and see: Who created these: He who brings out the starry host one by one, and Who calls them each by name" (Isaiah 40:26). This meditation can be used to reflect on Yom HaShoah and the resiliency of our people through difficult times. It can be used on Shabbat to reflect on the abovementioned Torah portions and other portions of the Tanakh.


Sit quietly. Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in waves of healing energy. Feel these waves flow through your entire body like an ocean of healing light. As you exhale, envision any negative energy—any pain, tension, stress, fatigue—being released from your body, carried away on the soft wind of your breath—carried away on the wings of angels. With every breath, feel the narrow places within you opening, expanding, becoming filled with waves of deep relaxation and healing energy. Feel this happening in your feet, your legs, your hips, your hands, your arms, your shoulders. Feel this happening in the core of your body—in your pelvis, your abdomen, your spine, your chest. Feel this happening in you neck, your head, your face.

See yourself walking in the desert under a night sky. You look up to see a canopy of stars above you. Now envision a scroll made of pure light filling the skyline. Now you see a ladder of pure light leading to the scroll. Now an angel approaches you, takes your hand, and leads you to the ladder of light. See yourself ascending the ladder until you find yourself standing before the scroll. As you stand among the countless stars shining all around you, you sense the presence of Abraham and Sarah, and all the foremothers and forefathers and all the generations that followed them. You sense the generations of your own departed family members. (On Yom HaShoah, add: You sense the presence of all the people lost in the Shoah). You sense the presence of future generations who will come after you. You see the light of the generations—past, present, future—all around you. You sense the light within you. 

Now envision yourself standing together with all these generations. Together you all stand before the scroll of light among the stars that God created. Together you stand in awe before the One who numbers the stars and calls them each by name, the One who numbers the generations and calls each one by name. As the scroll unfolds before you, you note letters of pure light lifting from the scroll, dancing against the sky. And now the words of light flow from the scroll to you. Feel these words flow into the pores of your skin. Feel the words of light flow into your arteries and veins. Feel the words of light flow into every cell in your body. See your whole body flow as you become filled with the light of Torah, as you become filled with the light of the One who numbers the stars. Feel the light of the souls of the generations glowing around you, embracing you, becoming one with the light of your soul.

Hold on to these images as you now become aware once of your surroundings. As you take a few deep breaths, become aware of the gentle rise and fall of your chest.  Become aware once more of your presence in your physical space. Then—whenever you are ready—slowly, gently open your eyes.

Reading

How to Forgive: Opening Our Hearts in Elul

Why is forgiveness so hard? How can Jewish texts help us grapple with this complicated, heart-opening process?

Join Rabbi Vivie Mayer and Ritualwell for an online course on forgiveness in preparation for Yom Kippur. In three sessions during the month of Elul, we will study, connect, and create as we immerse in the topic of forgiveness. 

Wednesdays, 12pm–1:15pm EST, August 8, 15, 22

Register by August 1st and receive 10% off D'vorah Horn's new Teshuvah Cardsa perfect complement to the course!

LEARN MORE