Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Practicing Prayer, Voicing Fears

היום  אחד עשר יום שהם שבוע אחד וארבעה ימים בעמר
Today is eleven days--that is one week and four days--of the omer
נצח שבגבורה
A day of perseverance in a week of strength

The practice of prayer is often hard to connect with, especially when the words are in a language you can neither read nor understand. That is the challenge of Jewish prayer, which has been an integral part of my spiritual practice for more than 15 years. It is a process that involves work, continual work, navigating through the different layers at different moments. That is what makes it a lifetime practice, for it's a ever changing relationship.

Part of the liturgy of the Jewish morning prayer service is the psalm of the day--one more way we, as Jews, measure time. Each psalm can give an intention for each day as we move through the week. What that intention is, like many of our rituals, open to interpretation.

The psalms for Tuesday and Wednesday have spoken to me these past years, giving a voice to my fears for the world:
"How long will you judge unjustly, giving face to the wicked!"Psalm 82:2  
"How long, Adonai, will the wicked - the wicked exhalt!"Psalm 94:3
This year, those fears are intensified for this country, and remaining silent is not an option--we must all raise our voices with these words, or those of our own, to truly live the words that I grew up hearing, that I saw on the wall at Yad Vashem:

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