Thursday, November 19, 2009

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life:
and man became a living soul
Genesis 2:7

This verse from Genesis, which describes the creation of man, reveals something about the relationship between God and man. God created man in the most intimate way: by breathing life into his nostrils. He did not create man through uttering a command, as He did with the rest of creation. But He created man through a physically intimate act. The image of God breathing into man’s nostrils is an image of a lover, of a caring parent, of closeness.

When we pray to God and try to get close to him, we can hold in our mind this image of love, and intimacy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Prayer can be liberating.

It requires letting go. Letting go means allowing yourself to experience vulnerability before God; allowing yourself to be weak and uncertain; allowing yourself to feel that you are being held by God.

When people complain that prayer leaves them unmoved, I remind them to let themselves feel small for a moment. I remind them that life is short and fraught with danger. Acknowledging God and asking for His support can bring solace and serenity.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What are we?

We live life everyday as if we own it. When we are young and even into middle age, most of us feel well and make our way through life with little problems. We feel invulnerable.

But that’s just an illusion.

An old Hassidic teaching tells us to write down two notes.
The first is that Man was created a little below the Angels. The second is that we return one day to dust.

The instructions?
Put each note into a two different pockets. When you feel invulnerable, look at the note that talks of your temporary stay here on Earth. When you feel bad, look at the note that reminds you of human greatness and the importance of your particular life.