Returning to the Ultimate:  Ourselves and God

"Great is repentance, for it reaches the Throne of Glory;… for it brings Redemption;…for it lengthens a man’s life." -- Talmud, Yoma

29 Elul 5777 Finally, let’s return to a familiar  poem, one that has been cherished since the sixteenth century.  Let’s savor it.  We might recite it several times, commit it to memory, or even sing it.  Let’s use the words, the sounds, the imagery, and the sentiments to frame our High Holy Days contemplations and celebrations.  

Beloved of the Soul 

Beloved of the soul, Source of compassion,

Shape Your servant to your will.

Then Your servant will run like a deer to bow before You.

Your love will be sweeter than a honeycomb.

Majestic, beautiful, light of the universe, 

My soul is lovesick for You;

I implore You, God, heal her

By revealing to her Your pleasant radiance;

Then she will be strengthened and healed

And will have eternal joy.

Timeless One, be compassionate

And have mercy on the one You love,

For this is my deepest desire:

To see Your magnificent splendor.

This is what my heart longs for;

Have mercy and do not conceal Yourself.

Reveal Yourself, my Beloved,

And spread the shelter of Your peace over me;

Light up the world with Your glory;

We will celebrate You in joy.

Hurry, Beloved, the time has come,

And grant us grace, as in days of Rabbi Eleazar Azikri

You may best know this as the song Yedid Nefesh often sung on Friday nights.  Composed by Eleazar Ben Moses Azikri, a sixteenth-century kabbalist who lived in Safed in upper Galilee.

He and a few friends formed a pact to dedicate themselves entirely to study of the scriptures and worship of God, and this prayer was written for their use. Published the year after he died, Yedid Nefesh was so popular among Jewish communities all over the Mediterranean that it became an accepted part of the Sabbath liturgy. This translation is by Rabbi Harvey Spivak.

qtd. on (open-source material for meditation)

And let us all wish one another the Happiest of New Years and soar!


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