28 Iyar: 43rd Day of the Omer
Week Seven: PRAY
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al s’firat haomer.
Blessed are You, LORD God, ruler of the Universe, who hallows us with the mitzvot, commanding us to count the Omer.
Today is the forty-third day — six weeks and one day of the Omer.
Learn to be quiet.
You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen, just wait.
You need not even wait,
just learn to be quiet, still and solitary.
And the world will freely offer itself to you unmasked.
It has no choice,
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. (Franz Kafka)
The theme of this final week is Prayer. Rabbi Kedar invites us to explore prayer:
Have an active conversation with the invisible: doubt and argue, dream and beg, ask for help, ask for forgiveness, offer gratitude. Shout at the heavens when you despair, and raise your voice in song when you rejoice. Sit still through the silences of the spirit; do not run from what cannot be known or understood. Life is a mystery. Anything we truly want to know and understand is, by definition, mysterious” (Kedar, pg. 145).
Today’s reflection is about the sitting in the silence and the stillness. Rabbi Kedar shares about her view from the window of her study, with a wild spectacle of nature and beauty — but it is silent. Then she writes about the beauty and majesty of the rising and setting of the sun — another silent spectacle.
What can we learn from the silence?
When we stay present with the stillness and sit in the silence, that is when the Divine speaks with us. Rushing through rote prayers and perfunctory daily routines does not leave space for deep listening to what God wants to tell us. Like most folks, I certainly don’t have the luxury of sitting in meditation for hours (ok, not even 20 minutes) a day, but carving out a space for prayer and divine connection is integral to understand our Divine direction. There are other ways we can connect with the divine, transforming the mundane into magic moments. This happens when we witness the beauty of nature; look into the eyes of our children; hear beautiful music that moves our soul.
“When we pray, we bow in humility to the Greatness of it all. May our lives become a prayer to all that is good and important. And know: life is given meaning, texture, purpose when, meekly, we utter amen to the mystery and magnificence of life” (Kedar, pg. 145).
And so it is. Amen.