I was sitting on the steps of Calvary earlier today and felt one of those warm breezes that takes me back to those earliest moments in the book of Genesis when it says that the Holy Breath hovered over all the land. I closed my eyes and allowed it to swallow me whole and re-soul me. As we prepare for Shabbat, in which we are instructed to Pause and Breath and Be ReSouled, thousands are preparing for the Climate Justice March tomorrow; gathering by bus and by foot to affirm the interconnection of all life.
I offer you this melody by Joey Weisnberg set to a section of our Shabbat morning liturgy known as Nishmat Kol Chai - The Breath of All Life. About these ancient words, the poet Marge Piercy wrote:
We are given the wind within us, the breath
To shape into words that steal time, that touch
Like hands and pierce like bullets, that waken
Truth and deceit, sorrow and pity and joy,
That waste precious air in complaints, in lies,
In floating traps for power on the dirty air.
Yet holy breath still stretches our lungs to sing
We are given the body, that momentary gathering
Of elements that have belonged to frog and polar
Bear, corn and oak tree, volcano and glacier.
We are lent for a time these minerals in water
And a morning every day, a morning to wake up,
Rejoice and praise life in our spines, our throats,
Our knees our genitals, our brains, our tongues...
May we all have the courage and privilege to live lives that honor the true interconnection of all living things, the Breath of all Life which is ours and the trees all at once. And may we find the time to truly exhale and be refreshed in our pursuits of healing and justice.
Rabbi Ari Lev
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Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.