Bless, O my soul, the transcendent and immanent One !
My Holy One, You are great beyond measure.
Splendor and beauty You put on;
You don light like a garment
Spreading the heavens like a curtain.
How precious is Your love, Holy One!
Humankind takes refuge in the shelter of Your wings.
They will be satisfied from the abundance of Your house
And from the stream of Your delights You give them to drink.
For with You is the source of life
And in Your light, we will see light.
Extend Your love to Your knowers,
And Your charity to those righteous of heart.
That's a setting of Barchi Nafshi performed by Hazzan Richard Kaplan, who is a hasid, a loving disciple, of Reb Zalman's. Some have the custom of reciting these verses when putting on a tallit for morning prayer.
I love the idea that God is robed in light as we robe ourselves in garments. And I love the idea that when we pray, we bless God.
It's easy to think in terms of asking God to bless us, or to bless our loved ones. But this prayer calls us to remember that we too are sources of blessing. That despite God's infinite greatness -- "my Holy One, You are great beyond measure" -- we bless God.
Maybe our ability to bless God, and to bless each other, arises out of the reality that we are made in God's image. Like God, we can create and destroy with our words. Like God, we can choose to speak curses or to speak blessings.
Today, on the third day of this journey into the month of Elul, may we find it in our hearts to bless God, and to bless everyone we meet.