Moving into 5769

Thanks for the new year’s wishes, all. I’m thinking today the world looks just a little bit newer than a couple days before. Time for a new year, indeed.

One of the things I love about the congregation I belong is that we hold Rosh Hashanah services up on Mount Lemmon, in the Boy Scout camp there, beneath the open sky. It’s hard not to appreciate the wondrousness that is this world, when one prays in a place like that.

One of the songs I find particularly evocative any time, but especially up there, is one that in Hebrew is Eli, Eli, and that translates in English (being Reform Jews, we sing both the English and Hebrew) as:

O Lord, my God,
I pray that these things never end,
The sand and the sea,
The rush of the waters,
The crash of the heavens,
The prayer of the heart.

Clip in both Hebrew and English here.

This has been echoing through my head this morning as I move into the new year. Some research reveals it’s not a long-standing folk song, as I’d always assumed, but was written poet Hannah Szenes, a Hungarian Jew who emigrated to Palestine during World War II, then returned there as part of a rescue mission, failed and, after being tortured, was executed.

Haunting stuff that travels beyond the war and the darkness it was written out of, I think, and serves well as a song and a prayer for our time and other times as well.

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