From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
The book of Genesis ends this week with the portion called Vayechi. Next week we’ll begin the book of Exodus. Between the pages, we’ll say, “Hazak, Hazak, V’nitchazek,” Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen each other. These words of strength express our expectation that the past and the future are linked by our ability to continue the journey we share. And after we muster the strength to proceed, we acknowledge faith as the Source of that strength.
In Torah, we learn that in “God’s strength,” God guides the Israelite people to their “holy abode” (Exodus 15:13). In a Midrash, the rabbis asked, “What is the source of God’s own strength?” They taught, “For the sake of the Torah, which [the Israelites] were destined to receive, for “Your strength,” here is but a designation for Torah, as in the passage, “God will give strength unto Our people” (Psalm 29:11) (Mechilta d. R. Ishmael Shirata V). God so loved the Israelites people that God gave us God’s holy Torah to be our strength now and always.
In the liminal moments of our life, we seek strength. In a poem by Alden Solovy, we hear the power of these moments and how they can transform us as we move from here to there.
“On the Trail”
Alden Solvoy, “This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer” https://www.ccarpress.org
God of beginnings,
God of mystery and adventure,
The path is steep,
The route is hidden,
The trail a narrow ridgeline,
Exposed and treacherous
Slicing between majestic canyons,
Rising to the awesome sky.
The load is heavy, the destination unknown,
But the journey brings rhythm and dance,
Song and story,
Ancient music that rises around us,
To take us from sunset to sunset
As we move into the glorious unknown
Step by step,
Moment by moment,
Day by day by day.
God of the wayfarer,
God of the traveler and sojourner,
Divine light of wonder and truth,
Show us the way
Across vast open spaces
And through tight passages.
Show us the way
Through stormy days
And moonless nights.
Baruch Ata Adonai, nishmat kol chai,
Hashomer tzeiteinu u’vo’einu mei-atah v’ad olam. Blessed are You, Adonai, Soul of life, Who guards our going out and coming in, now and forever.