This prayer is about the spiritual path, recognizing that it requires a sense of purpose and joy, of love and humility. Why? Because healing can be painful. Much like surgery, it’s often necessary for me to receive my wounds in order to grow. Then I have a profound choice, to live wounded or to let these wounds heal and live from a place of wonder and awe. I use this prayer in week four of Counting the OmerFrom the second day of Passover until Shavuot, Jews count seven weeks – seven times seven days – to commemorate the period between the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai. When the Temple stood, a certain measure (omer) of barley was offered on the altar each day; today, we merely count out the days., hesedLit. Kindness It is said in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) that the world stands on three things: Torah (learning), Avodah (worship), and Gemilut Hasidim (acts of kindness). b’netzach.
Daughter of man,
Son of woman,
Children of compassion and sacred secrets:
Your wounds are deep,
Your losses crushing,
Knife on flesh,
Hammer on bone,
Burning your heart and searing your eyes.
Why do you invite them back
To chastise your days
And torture your nights?
Why do you love these old wounds,
Holding them so dear?
Son of celebration,
Daughter of ecstasy:
Cast off your doubts,
Banish your fears,
Exile the pain of time beyond your reach.
There is beauty in your past,
Wonder in your future,
And holiness in each new moment of life.
Come you children of G-d,
You witnesses of suffering and grace,
Lift your heads from your hands,
Raise your voices in song,
Lift your lives in service,
And rekindle the light of compassion and love.
Then, your lives will become a blessing,
A well of hope,
A river of consolation,
A fountain of peace.
Blessed are You, G-d of forgiveness,
You renew our lives with purpose.
© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).
Postscript: This piece was part of a collaboration with Lin Batsheva Kahn of the Tikvah Company of Artists and Desiree Miller of the Chicago Civic Orchestra called “Three Prayers,” using my words, original choreography and dance by Lin and original cello music by Desiree. “Three Prayers” premiered in JerusalemLit. City of peace From the time of David to the Roman destruction, Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the spiritual and governmental center of the Jewish people. During the long exile, Jews longed to return to Jerusalem and wrote poems, prayers, and songs about the beloved city. In 1967, with the capture of the Old City, Jerusalem was reunited, becoming "the eternal capital of Israel." Still, the longing for peace is unfulfilled. in June 2014 as part of an evening of dance and poetry by MiriamMiriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance. Engel’s Angela Dance Company. This prayer appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.