29 Elul 5777 - Project Elul

Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

29 Elul 5777 Finally, let’s return to a familiar  poem, one that has been cherished since the sixteenth century.  Let’s savor it.  We might recite it several times, commit it to memory, or even sing it.  Let’s use the words, the sounds, the imagery, and the sentiments to frame our High Holy Days contemplations and celebrations.  

Beloved of the Soul 

Beloved of the soul, Source of compassion,

Shape Your servant to your will.

Then Your servant will run like a deer to bow before You.

Your love will be sweeter than a honeycomb.

Majestic, beautiful, light of the universe, 

My soul is lovesick for You;

I implore You, God, heal her

By revealing to her Your pleasant radiance;

Then she will be strengthened and healed

And will have eternal joy.

Timeless One, be compassionate

And have mercy on the one You love,

For this is my deepest desire:

To see Your magnificent splendor.

This is what my heart longs for;

Have mercy and do not conceal Yourself.

Reveal Yourself, my Beloved,

And spread the shelter of Your peace over me;

Light up the world with Your glory;

We will celebrate You in joy.

Hurry, Beloved, the time has come,

And grant us grace, as in days of old.by Rabbi Eleazar Azikri

You may best know this as the song Yedid Nefesh often sung on Friday nights.  Composed by Eleazar Ben Moses Azikri, a sixteenth-century kabbalist who lived in Safed in upper Galilee.

He and a few friends formed a pact to dedicate themselves entirely to study of the scriptures and worship of God, and this prayer was written for their use. Published the year after he died, Yedid Nefesh was so popular among Jewish communities all over the Mediterranean that it became an accepted part of the Sabbath liturgy. This translation is by Rabbi Harvey Spivak.

qtd. on http://www.easwaran.org (open-source material for meditation)

And let us all wish one another the Happiest of New Years and soar!

28 Elul 5777 - Project Elul

Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

28 Elul 5777 "Redemption only comes to our nation bit by bit." -- Midrash Tehillim  

Can you be patient with yourself and others?  Can you sustain these preparations for the High Holy Days over time?  Can you return to your own writing for inspiration and guidance during the coming year?

27 Elul 5777 - Project Elul

Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

27 Elul 5777 We are living in a sharply and often harshly divided nation.  What ideas, feelings, strategies, and experiences can you bring into your day-to-day interactions with people who differ from you?  How can you make a contribution to healing these breaches?  You may wish to write down your notions for further reference.  

25 Elul 5777 - Project Elul

Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

25 Elul 5777 The High Holy Days invite us all to take a personal moral assessment and to be accountable for our actions.  If it were possible to take a snapshot of your moral assessment at this time, could you write down or speak aloud what you see in yourself right now?  Some areas you might wish to describe are your relationship to yourself, what value in yourself, and areas where you might change and grow.  Do you see yourself and others differently?  Do you need to make amends to others and most importantly to yourself?   Will you do more for tikkun olam?  If so, what might happen next?  And how are you growing in your relationship with God?

24 Elul 5777 - Project Elul

Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

24 Elul 5777 It is possible that God does not manifest for you in traditional ways or at all.  In other words, you are involved in Judaism from a cultural point of view, or maybe you feel Judaism is your heritage.  If so, join everyone else in noting the values and experiences you find sacred.

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