There is a midrashic legend that our patriarch JacobLit. heel Jacob is the third patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca, and father to the twelve tribes of Israel. More than any of the other patriarchs, Jacob wrestles with God and evolves from a deceitful, deal-making young man to a mature, faithful partner to God. His Hebrew name is Yaakov. was blessed with a grand-daughter named Serach. According to the midrashA rabbinic method of interpreting text, often through the telling of stories., Serach was the daughter of Asher and the grand-daughter of the patriarch, Jacob; and she was blessed with the gift of music. She was a musician, a harpist, with a gentle voice and a powerful spirit. And when he was troubled, Jacob would call for her, and she would play her harp and sing for him, and he would be comforted. Her songs were like a healing balm. After more than two decades, Joseph’s brothers learn that he is not dead as they had believed him to be but alive and living in the land of Egypt. They fear that their father will be overcome with this news and his soul will fly out of him upon hearing it. And so they must find a gentle way to deliver the news. They agreed that only Serach could reveal this news to Jacob. They believed that when his soul flew out from his body, Serach would be able to call it back with the beauty and the power of her song. And the midrash says that is exactly what happened.
It is said that Serach was rewarded for her piety with a very long lifespan and she is one of the few to enter Gan Eden while yet alive. There are some unique practices around her. For example, in some communities, it is their tradition to say, “The name of the daughter of Asher is Serach” during havdalahLit. Separation A ceremony performed on Saturday night to mark the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the week, using wine, a braided candle, and sweet-smelling spices.. Other practices include invoking her name to ensure a safe journey, or to provide protection from harm.
This midrash is the inspiration for a meditation, Song of Serach. This meditation can be used to reflect on Parashat Vayigash (Bereishit 44:18–47:27). In Bereishit 45:26, Jacob is told that JosephJacob's eldest son by his beloved wife, Rachel. Joseph, the dreamer, was his father's favorite and nearly murdered by his brothers. Sold into slavery, he became viceroy of Egypt where he ultimately saves the Egyptians and also his own family from starvation. His Hebrew name is Yosef/ still lives.
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. Feel this energy embrace your soul force and your spirit. 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 angel wings. 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, legs, hips, hands, arms, shoulders – in the core of your body – your pelvis, abdomen, spine, chest – in your neck, head, face.
Imagine that you walking in the desert. In the distance you perceive an oasis. As you draw closer, you note a beautiful building surrounded by lush vegetation and flowing streams. With all your senses, you take in the beauty of the trees and flowers and the serenity of the flowing waters. You see the shapes and colors of the trees and flowers. You smell their fragrance. You hear the sound of a gentle wind as it whispers through the leaves and over the waters. You hear the sound of the water as it flows over sand and stones. You listen closely and you hear the faint sound of beautiful music.
As you draw nearer to the building, you note it to be made of ancient stone, with arches and domes. You note how the stone glistens in the sunlight. You sense that this is a sanctuary, a sacred place. As you draw nearer, the music becomes clearer and stronger in intensity. You arrive at the door where a being of pure light greets you, opens the door, and invites you to enter. This being takes your hand and leads you to the source of the music – a musician playing a harp and singing a beautiful song.
Imagine soft tendrils of radiant light extending from this harp to you. They wrap around your heart to form a harp made of pure light within you. Now envision tendrils of light flowing out from your heart, pumping light through every blood vessel in your body. Feel the rhythm of the song of your heart as it rises upward into your neck, your jaw, your face, and your scalp. Feel the melody resonate in your shoulders, arms, and hands. Feel the rhythm pulsate through your spinal cord and your entire nervous system to every muscle and cell of your body. Feel the rhythm as it dances in your abdomen, hips, legs, and feet.
Now envision tiny, microscopic harps of light forming throughout your body. Envision these microscopic harps of light entering every one of your cells until your entire body glows with this light. Hear, feel, sense, and know this song of light as it whispers through all your cells.
Creation began with a ruakhLit. Spirit. Some new versions of blessings call God "Spirit of the World" (Ruakh Ha’olam), rather than "King of the World" (Melekh Ha'olam)., a spirit wind – the breath of God – hovering over the waters (Gen. 1:2). Imagine the breath of God blowing through all the strings of these harps of light within you.
Listen… You can hear your body as it sings this song. You can hear it in the rhythm of your heartbeat. You can hear it in the rhythm of your breathing. You can feel it in the rhythm of all your cells.
Listen… You can hear your soul sing as it dances to this song. Listen… You can hear the song of the universe as it whispers through your soul. Listen… You can feel the ruakh, the spirit wind – the breath of God – as it sings through your body, as it sings through your soul. This is the Song of Creation. This is the Song of Your Soul.
Now envision the microscopic harps of light within you as they coalesce to form one large harp of light that fills your entire body. Hear the music of the spirit wind, the ruakh as it blows through the strings of light. Now this instrument of light grows larger and larger, extending beyond the boundaries of your body, reaching out to all those who are in need of healing – whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
Now imagine this beautiful song of healing emanating from you to them – dispelling darkness – bringing harmony, hope, and healing – bringing courage, strength, balance, wholeness, and blessing.
Hear, sense, know, and feel this Song of Creation, this Song of Your Soul, deep within you. Know that you are a vessel of this sacred sound. Hear, sense, feel, and know the breath of God singing through you. This Song of the Soul is always there for you – any time you are in need of it.
Hold on to these images as you now become aware once more of your breath and the boundaries of your body. 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 this room. Then – whenever you are ready – slowly, gently – open your eyes.
Kaminker, Mendy. Serach the Daughter of Asher. Found at: http://www.chabad.org.