Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Morning Dreams


And now I’ve started having morning dreams
Where I dream I’m waking up
And my throat hurts
And I get very upset
Because I’m sure I have contracted the virus
And I start calculating
Should I
call the doctor or
go to the hospital
and what about the cat
and why don’t I have a health proxy
But then I wake up
(usually lying in the same position I was in in the dream)
And my throat doesn’t hurt
And I’m fine.

I’m awake
But I’m just as anxious as I was
In the dream
anyway.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Washing Your Hands During a Pandemic PDF

During this anxious time, many people and congregations have shared my handwashig blessing from this blogFacebook and/or Ritualwell.  

And, since many shuls, schools and churches are choosing to post this blessing in their bathrooms and sinks,  Ritualwell has created a PDF of the prayer that can be printed and posted.

Ritualwell.org Handwashing PDF



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All my work is offered to you free with attribution, under the Creative Commons SA license.  I have posted my work up here and in other venues for years for anyone to read and use and will continue to do so. If you use anything I've written and it worked or meant something to you, and if you can afford to do so, please consider helping me out on a one time basis, or the Patreon link below if you want to help out on a regular basis, so I can continue my work.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Ladybirds and Judaism


I was interviewed for HIDDEN WINGS AND BLOODLUST,  a podcast hosted by Rachael Horwitz, a lover of ladybugs (ladybirds in England, where Rachael lives). She is interested in all bugs and religion and found my Blessing For The Bugs on opensiddur.org and asked me to come on the show.  I was a little self-conscious at first but warmed up and we had fun. Here it is:


https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hidden-wings-and-bloodlust/id1476595771#episodeGuid=hiddenwingsandbloodlust.podbean.com%2F6fe52b79-ae8f-5861-94da-6b92f55290f1


Thursday, February 27, 2020

A Blessing For Washing Hands During a Pandemic



As we wash our hands
We pray,
Blessed is the Soul of the Universe,
Breathing us in and breathing us out.
May our breaths continue
And our health and the health of all
Be preserved
In this time of sickness and fear of sickness.
Holy Wholeness,
We take as much responsibility for it as we can
By observing the obligation to wash our hands,
Thoroughly:
For as long as it takes to say this prayer.
Amen


Friday, February 14, 2020

Fear, Despair (and Faith): The Lily Among The Thorns


...And God said, “In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.”
Exodus 20:21


We are all called to hear the Torah read out loud:
To listen to our stories,
Our laws,
Our history,
And Torah.
And sometimes, if we’re want it and we’re lucky,
To God,
However we understand God. 

We ask God to listen to us,
Listen to our Fear.

Today I am called up to look to God for company
In my fear.
I am afraid of our leaders
And I am afraid for the people looking to replace our leaders.
I am afraid of violence.
I am afraid of hate.
I fear the hate I hear towards immigrants, people of color, Jews, the poor,
Towards people who are too old or young,
Towards people of good intent with whom we mildly disagree,
Anyone who is not us.
I am afraid for myself, I am afraid for you, I am afraid for everybody.
I don’t want to deny the fear
That only makes it stronger.
So today I touch the Torah,
I acknowledge the fear.
We acknowledge the fear.

Blessed Holy One-ness,
We are afraid.

And we ask God to listen to us.
To listen to our Despair.


Today I am called up to look to God for company
In my despair.
The enemy is so strong
And we are divided.
We keep losing
And this is no game.
Lives are ruined,
Animals are going extinct,
The planet is on fire,
I miss snow.
Cruelty goes unpunished
And I can’t get away from it.
There’s no point in pretending I don’t feel it.
We all feel it.
No distractions work for long.
It feels hopeless.
Solidarity helps
But the grief won’t go away
And the more I deny it
The worse it gets.
So I touch the Torah
I acknowledge my despair
We acknowledge the despair.

Blessed Holy One-ness,
We are sad.

-->
There is a parable in the Sefer Ha-Aggadah,*
The Book of Legends,
About a king who had a beautiful orchard
Which, when he had to leave for a year,
He left in the hands of a keeper. 
And when the king returned,
The orchard had been terribly neglected,
Overgrown with thorns and thistles.
He was going to tear the orchard down
But looking down at the thorns
He noticed among them
A rose-colored lily.
And the king said
“Because of this lily, let the entire orchard be spared.”
And the rabbis say,
“Likewise the whole world is spared, for the sake of Torah. “


So
Hineni
Here I am
Standing at the foot of Mount Sinai
Looking to God for company
Both metaphorical and real,
Whether I believe in it or not.
And let me tell you something I do.
Once a month
I choose a name to represent what God is for me that day.
And today the name I choose for God is Emunah,
Faith.
I have no faith
Faith is for suckers
But still

We ask God to listen to us,
To listen to our Faith.
Because today I choose Torah.
Today I choose the rule of law.
Today I choose history and science.
Today I choose to resist the pharoah.
Today I choose holy conversations.
Today I choose to heal the world.
Today I choose acts of loving kindness.
Today I choose the wisdom of Yitro, to share the burdens
And today I choose Emunah,
To act AS IF:
As if I am not afraid,
As if I do not despair.
This is not hope
Because hope acknowledges the possibility of failure
And today I choose optimism,
As if I have faith
That I am not alone.

Because God said, “In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you.”

Blessed One-ness,
Emunah,
Believing, Believer, Believed.

Today we choose to be blessed.
Today we choose the lily among the thorns.

Amen



*Legend Of The Jews, page 78
Schocken Books 1992