Morning: Blessing, with Echo of Gunshots

How lovely are these tents! not far from housing that has seen better days and housing that has seen too many awful ones. I love the place of Your house, reached through streets collecting cigarette butts, the odd chicken wing, echoes of homicide. Through Your abundant love, I enter Your house, where these peaceful walls […]

Prayer Warm-up: From Self to Community

Part of the early morning warm-up for prayers — along with awareness of our blessings and awakening body, soul, and mind — is moving from what Mishkan T’filah [Reform prayerbook] calls “self-fulfillment” to “social imperatives of community.” And that means beginning to move through the individual joys and concerns that we brought with us to […]

“Because of this…” (Blessing and attitude, continued)

A (very) previous post discussed the idea of being too grumpy for gratitude, with a focus on one humility-prompting passage from the morning blessings: …Master of all worlds, we do not offer our supplications before You based on our righteousness, but rather based on Your great mercy. What are we? What are our lives?….Man barely […]

“Iyun Tefilah”: Deeper in Prayer

For years, I’ve been looking at the expression “iyun tefilah,” as in the famous passage from Shabbat 127a, where it is translated as “contemplation [or “meditation,” maybe “devotion”] in prayer.” Mishkan T’filah includes this phrase in the morning study passage, a kind of mash-up of Peah 1:1. and Shabbat 127a. (See pp.206-207 in Mishkan T’filah […]

Psalm 30: Words, Chant, Song

some resources for exploring Psalm 30 Word-based Commentary So far the most thorough and useful commentary I’ve found on-line is still Schechter’s “A New Psalm”. If anyone has a resource to suggest, please share. A number of commentaries focus on the word “dilitani” — you have drawn me up — in the second verse: it […]