Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Blessing, Breathing, Moving through

היום ששה עשר יום שהם שני שבועת ושני ימים לעמר
Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days, of the omer
גבורה שבתפארת
A day of strength in a week of compassion

The Jewish prayer of "Kaddish" is a prayer of transition. In one form, it moves us through the different section of our services; in another, it moves us through our rituals of mourning. It is a prayer of praise.

I see it as a prayer of pause, like the holds, the spaces between the in-breath and out; the out-breath and in. A moment when the past and future converge in the present. It is no wonder that the following Marge Piercy poem, from her book The Art of Blessing the Day, speaks to me.


Look around us, search above us, below, behind.
We stand in a great web of being joined together.
Let us praise, let us love the life we are lent
passing through us in the body of Israel
and our own bodies, let's say amein.

Time flows through us like water.
The past and the dead speak through us.
We breathe out our children's children, blessing.

Blessed is the earth from which we grow,
blessed the life we are lent,
blessed the ones who teach us,
blessed the ones we teach,
blessed is the word that cannot say the glory
that shines through us and remains to shine
flowing past distant suns on the way to forever.
Let's say amein.

blessed is light, blessed is darkness,
but blessed above all else is peace
which bears the fruits of knowledge
on strong branches, let's say amein.

Peace that bears joy into the world,
peace that enables love, peace over Israel
everywhere, blessed and holy is peace, let's say amein.

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