Today is thirty-one days, which is four weeks and three days of the Omer. תפארת שבהוד. Tiferet ShebeHod, Beauty of Splendor.
There are so many roadblocks on the way to a meaningful Jewish prayer experience. Theology and theodicy get in the way. The literal words of traditional prayers seem anachronistic, sometimes goyish. The intellectual brain doesn’t want to turn off. The world is exhausting and curling up with a good book or a bad TV show sound more appealing.
I know my words alone wont convince anyone that prayer is beautiful. My job is to sort out how to create meaningful prayer experiences. To open up the possibility of meaning through active participation. That is why I am participating in the Davennen Leadership Training Institute. I’m not going to wow you with my guitar skills (I have none; my hands cramp up holding a pencil). I won’t be writing new melodies. My goal is to deepen my own prayer practice and deepen my ability to create space for other people to find their way into prayer.
Personal prayer is a deeply meditative experience. It helps me rise above my immediate reactions and to hold space for other people. It also reminds me to do my duty, regardless of how I’m feeling. I suppose that is the Stoic influence of Rabbi Finley in my prayer. It goes back to my understanding of the yoke of heaven.
What does it mean to be bound by The Holy One? To accept a yoke? Is it merely a heavy burden of arcane law? Or is it a guiding force, correcting natural inclinations and moving me in the direction I yearn to travel?
I choose the ethical, mystical yoke of Judaism. Throughout the day and the year, Jewish practice reminds me of what is most important to me and who I want to be. Jewish wisdom guides my transformation. Holding space for prayer creates the opportunity to experience beautiful splendor. Emptying my mind of worries, and pop culture obsessions, frees me to dance with angels.
Previously on this day in the Omer
31 Days of the Omer 5778 / 2018: Uncovering deep truth through prayer.
31 Days of the Omer 5777 / 2017: The beautiful truth of soulful community.