March 02, 2018
Source of Mercy, untie my tangled places.
I'm a fine gold chain so knotted and snarled
I've forgotten how it feels to fall straight,
to let Your abundance cascade through.
Protector of Israel, when someone wounds
my beloveds I turn into an angry lioness.
Forgive me: I don't want to outgrow
this furious yearning to protect those I love.
Eternal Friend, help me relinquish my grudges,
especially those I hold against myself.
You know every hope and every ache.
All I want to want is You, and if I have You
I have all I need. Through time and space
Your glory shines, Majestic One.
This is a prayer-poem I began writing a couple of years ago to which I returned this morning. It began as a re-visioning and mashup of two pre-existing prayers: Ana B'Choach, which some recite on Friday nights, and the bedtime prayer of forgiveness which appears in the nightly shema liturgy.
My poem borrows some phrases from Reb Zalman z"l's translations of both of those prayers. It also grapples with the piece of the bedtime forgiveness prayer that challenges me most: the articulation of forgiveness not for those who have harmed me, but for those who have harmed those whom I love.
There are four names of God, or epithets for God, in this prayer-poem. Three of them are names that Reb Zalman z"l used often, and the fourth appears in traditional daily liturgy. The fact that there are four names of God was a conscious choice made in revision; I like how it evokes the four worlds.
Shabbat shalom to all!