Hatred of Haters and Turbulent Branching of Thoughts

Put an end to the hatred of haters those who have made me their foe Search me out with shovel and torchlight, God know my heart by means of compassion. Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts. See the road that brings me sadness, and lead me instead on the path of eternal life. — […]

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Covenant and Liturgy

A pair of questions disturbed journalist Sebastian Junger as a young suburban Boston resident, living “in a time and a place where nothing dangerous ever happened,” he tells us in  Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging: How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man […]

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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 […]

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Yet More on Psalm 27 (3 of 4)

The close of Psalm 27 — קַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה: חֲזַק, וְיַאֲמֵץ לִבֶּךָ; וְקַוֵּה, אֶל-יְהוָה. Hope in the LORD; strengthen yourself, let your heart take courage, and hope in the Lord [Psalm 27:14] — is often cited as a motivational aphorism, particularly for the penitential season. This is its role in this meditation for Elul, for example. […]

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Exploring Psalm 27 — (1 of 4)

For a little over 200 years, Psalm 27 has been associated with the season of repentance: Some have the custom of reciting this psalm during Days of Awe (10 days), some for the whole month of Elul as well (40 days), and some beginning on Rosh Hodesh Elul and continuing through Hoshana Rabba (51 days). […]

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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”. [UPDATE 2017: Sadly, this on-line resource appears to be gone; Segal’s A New Psalm: The Psalms as Literature is now published by Geffen Books.] If anyone has a resource to […]

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Robe, River, and Bond in Morning Prayer

Wrapping The early morning section of a Jewish prayer book focuses — with some variety in content and order (see below) — on wraps: God is robed in majesty (Psalms 104:1-2). Jews are wrapped in fringes (blessing for wearing a tallit [prayer shawl]). Humans take refuge in the shadow of divine wings (Psalms 36:8-11). The […]

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Further Awakenings in the Siddur

The Soul, Slow Waking, and a Little Grammar Beyond the first two lines of the earliest morning prayers — it takes some of us a long time to make those first few steps — Jewish morning blessings continue to focus on awakening, with attention to body, soul, and Torah/mind. Here are some notes on “the […]

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