A Prayer and a Commandment

כי תעביר ממשלת זדון מן הארץ                                                                      צדק צדק תרדוף Justice, Justice pursue”                   “Remove the wicked kingdom from the earth”

Remove the wicked kingdom from the earth” is one the many supplications that we offer during the High Holidays. It articulates hope for a redeemed world, for a new dispensation in which primal goodness is restored and all life is realigned with H’. Its envisages a new age, though one whose fulfillment is not possible within the familiar continuum of past, present and future, for it exists outside of time; we cannot predict the moment of its arrival, nor may we organize our lives on the assumption that its advent is close. But neither may we desist from yearning for it.

Justice, Justice pursue,” on the other hand, is a commandment from the Torah that we confront that wicked kingdom Continue reading “A Prayer and a Commandment” »

Coming Back, Going Forward

הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ יְהֹוָה אֵלֶיךָ וְנָשׁוּבָה
Hashiveinu, H’, veNashuvah

“Bring us back to you, H’, and we will return”

[Lamentations 5:21, Regular prayers, with special significance on the High Holidays]

Hashiveinu (“Bring us back”) is a call for input from beyond, asking for an affirmation, hoping for a sign, some kind of spiritual experience: Bring us back, awaken us, remind us, shine your light upon us, show us your face.

veNashuvah (“and we will return”) is the daily work, integrating the experience: returning, remaining awake, remembering, every day, every minute of every day.

We are rarely transformed by our spiritual experiences or insights. However powerful they may be, they are only signposts, ephemeral events; nevertheless, they can, and should, inform our being.

More “Prayerbook Musings”