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

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Mutual Offering


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 here and it worked or meant something to you, and if you can afford to do so, please, use this PayPal  or Venmo link to help me out on a one time basis, or the Patreon link below if you want to help out on a regular basis.

VENMO:  @Trisha-Arlin

https://www.paypal.me/trishaarlin

If you would like to be a monthly patron, please check out my new PATREON page:
https://www.patreon.com/trishaarlin

B'Shalom, Trisha

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Rosh Hashana Aleinu



עָלֵינוּ 
It is upon us!
It is upon us to repair the broken places.
It is upon us to comfort the sick in body and heart.
It is upon us to bring sweetness to those around us.

It is upon us to face the truth.
It is upon us to know when we have choices.
It is upon us to see that justice is done.

It is upon us to be kind.
It is upon us to be mindful and compassionate.
It is upon us to forgive and be forgiven.

It is upon us to do teshuvah, returning to our true and decent selves.
It is upon us to do tefillah, understanding that our prayers are holy conversations.
It is upon us to do tzedukah, standing up for the survival of all our communities.

וַאֲנַחְנוּ כֹּרעִים
We bend our knees!
We bend our knees to acknowledge how small we are in the face of all this responsibility.
We bend our knees to warm up for all the hard work.
We bend our knees so that we may dance.

לִפְנֵי מֶֽלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַֽמְּלָכִים
We are in the presence of God!
We are in the presence of God, however we understand God or however we don’t.
We are in the presence of God, blessed in the obligations of the covenant.
We are in the presence of God…  yikes.

אֵין עוֹד
We are all one in the One-ness, there is no other. 
And there is no one else to do the work.  It is upon us.
It is upon us to save the world.  Sorry.  

But…

Aleinu. 
And Happy New Year