30 January 2010


The ninth of 19 brief meditations on the 19 blessings of the Amidah.


Bless this year for us, Eternal our God, together with all the varieties of its produce, for our welfare. Bring dew and rain for a blessing upon the face of the earth. Satisfy us with your goodness, and bless our year like the best of years. Blessed are you, Eternal, who blesses the years.

It's freezing cold right now in New York, which feels good. Because it's supposed to be cold in winter. And warm in summer. And rain and snow are supposed to fall when they're supposed to fall. There is a cycle of life that is meant to be by design and our current generation is all too aware that the human responsibility on earth has likely overturned that cycle. We only seem to disagree by by a matter of degrees.

"The years" in Hebrew might also be translated as "those periods of time that repeat," in a cyclical way, and thereby connoting a sense of repetition of time that calls upon us to live lives of sacred discipline. A relationship with the elemental that recognizes its inherent goodness is what this prayer expresses. Earth. Water. Sky. Produce. Welfare. Time. How we "use" each of these is not only for our own edification but is in the context of relationship with others and the Other. We inherent Earth, Water, Sky and Produce, Welfare, Time from a prior generation and bestow those upon the generation that follows us.

"Who blesses the years." Not this year. Or last year, or next. But "the years." Good and bad blur as specific distinctions in the context of years. As a whole, there is goodness. And that's the point. It requires a faith of perspective, of seeing far into the past and aiming far into the future. It sees "this year" as not one but a variety of years, an accumulation of blessings, a shared welfare of time and life.

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