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Awake!

It was my great privilege to offer this closing prayer at Hebrew College Commencement. I opened and closed with settings of half a verse from Ps. 121, “written” just for the occasion. You can hear the opening and the closing by clicking on the respective play buttons below. Psalm 121 is traditionally offered in conjunction with tefilat ha-derekh — the prayer for safe travel — so it seemed like a good place to start. The psalm’s multiple images of wakefulness also seemed so appropriate as we send new rabbis (and all of us!) out into the world.  Enjoy!

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הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן

Ever-Wakeful Guardian,
we too in this moment stand before you
wide awake.

Awake to Your Presence,
awake to the enormous tasks
of world-repair and healing that these graduates are taking on.
Awake to all they have accomplished
and as hopeful as watchers for the sunrise
to see the dawning of all that is yet theirs to do.

Yet we know that we are sending them into a world
where wakefulness and readiness are impossible for human minds to hold.
A world where myriad voices –inner and outer– urge them,
urge all of us,
to fall asleep to our own destinies,
to become oblivious to our lives’ clearest purpose.

Guardian of Wakefulness,
may it be Your will to plant this great moment of wakefulness,
to plant it within us as the hardiest of seeds,
that wherever we are dispersed,
whenever we find ourselves losing our way,
we will always be able to call on You — who never slumbers –
to feel our own wakefulness stirring,
to see our own new day dawning,
to breathe in
Your Presence
afresh.

And in that moment, may we awaken to this moment once again.

הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן

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 So, what helps you stay awake on the journey? Leave a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook and let me know.

And if you’re ready to wake up your own truest voice, come sing with me!