To close out this week of Tiferet [“beauty”], the balancing of Chesed [“loving-kindness”] with Gevurah [“strength” or “boundaries”], a few words of prayer and meditation from the early morning service (Koren Saks translation; meditation [mine]) —
May Your loving-kindness be greatly upon me, and in Your might may my enemies and those who rise against me be subdued.
I pray in the spirit of the Talmudic great, Beruriah, who scolded her husband, Rabbi Meir, for praying that “sinners be no more,” insisting instead that he should instead pray that the sins that should be no more. (See Berakhot 10a; Midrash Psalms 118)
— from “Prayers for a Change”
— and a thought from Ross Gay on “Split this Rock,” a national network of socially engaged poets:
A Small Needful Fact
Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue to grow, continue
to do what such plants do, like house
and feed small and necessary creatures,
like being pleasant to touch and smell,
like converting sunlight
into food, like making it easier
for us to breathe.
Used with permission.
***Ross Gay is a gardener and teacher living in Bloomington, Indiana. His book, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, is available from University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015.
Please feel free to share Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this post, including this request. Thanks! If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.
We counted 20 on the evening of April 23. Tonight, we count….
Making the Omer Count
from On the Road to Knowing: A Journey Away from Oppression
A key element in the journey from liberation to revelation is understanding the workings of oppression, and our part in them. We cannot work effectively to end what we do not comprehend.
So this year, moving from Passover to Shavuot, I commit to learning more about how oppression works and how liberation is accomplished. I invite others to join me:
Let’s work together, as we count the Omer, to make this Omer count.
Thoughts and sources welcome.
Share this graphic to encourage others to participate.
Aware that we are on a journey toward knowing God — from liberation to revelation — I undertake to know more today than I did yesterday about the workings of oppression.
I bless and count [full Hebrew blessings in feminine and masculine address]:
Blessed are You, God, Ruler/Spirit of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.
Today is twenty-one days which are three weeks in the Omer.
Hayom echad v’esrim yom shehaym shloshah shavuot la-omer.
In the spirit of the Exodus, I pray for the release of all whose bodies and spirits remain captive, and pledge my own hands to help effect that liberation.