You who fill and surround creation, Who adorned the heavens in time before time
with the sparkling net of galaxies like gems in the sky’s expanse –
You don't need us to make Your name great
throughout the world. It's all we can do
to hold this scant fractal
encoded in our limbs,
our temporary breath.
We praise anyway,
through our generations –
not because You need to hear it
but because something in us shifts
whether we whisper this reminder or shout it to the skies:
You are upwelling, indwelling, holy: the song that sings in us.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהו''ה, הָאֵל הַקָּדושׁ .Blessed are You, Holy One, God Who is holy
Sparkling net of galaxies. This image is an artist’s rendering of a supercluster of galaxies, from the Smithsonian magazine. Fractal / encoded in our limbs. The four-letter Name of God can be understood to map to the human body: yud is the head, heh is the arms, vav is the spine, heh is the legs. [O]ur temporary breath. R. Arthur Waskow teaches that we speak the Name every time we breathe.
Originally published in Holy / Kedusha, Bayit, Jan. 2024.
This liturgical poem is one of my contributions to the latest collaborative offering from Bayit's Liturgical Arts Working Group: Holy / Kedusha. Click through to Builders Blog to see the whole thing. As always, the offering is available both as a downloadable PDF and as slides suitable for screenshare.
Also as always, what we co-created is more than the sum of its parts. Both of the pieces I drafted were inspired by something that someone else wrote or said, and I wouldn't have written either one were it not for this collaboration. This work is one of the most nourishing things I do, and I am grateful.