Tuesday, December 15, 2009

אֵין עוֹד, מִלְּבַדּוֹ

I recite the 18 benedictions every morning and most afternoons.

This is in Hebrew, of course, with a tallit (prayer shawl) over my head and a kippah (a large one) on my skull. I look upon these prayers as meditations more than prayer, although there is an element of supplication here as well. For the most part, it is just a moment to acknowledge two things: my importance as a single human being with worth, value, and merit; and equally and opposite, to discover that I am just a fleck of dust in the universe; that I am at the mercy of greater, higher, universal powers.

At these moments, I can feel the tug of something greater than myself. You can call it God (or HaShem, as I do) or the pull of the Infinite, Eyn Sof, or even the desire, strong, thwarted, ardent, to merge with the Oneness Of All Things.

Regardless, I'm often moved to tears by this experience. All my life I have been a religious rationalist. Now I find myself weeping at the expansiveness of it all. I find myself filled by a desire that appears to originate outside of me.

אֵין עוֹד, מִלְּבַדּוֹ

Eyn od milvado. I repeat this Hebrew refain like a mantra. There is none beside God.

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