My bulletin series this year will focus on my attempt to read the book of Psalms as a devotional practice. Psalms were written to reflect an individual’s or a communal struggle with the joys and sorrows of life. When life is good, the Psalmist reaches out to God in gratitude. When life is troubled, the Psalmist reaches out to God for help. When life is sweet, the Psalmist reaches out to God with gentleness. When life is frightening, the Psalmist reaches out to God in despair. When life is cruel, the Psalmist reaches out to God in anger.
My goal is to post weekly Psalm reflections on my blog and on the Ahavas Israel website, ahavasisraelgr.org. Each week, I’ll have chosen one phrase or verse from the Psalm of that week and use it to create a brief 200-250 word meditation on how the torah of that verse might help us embody a positive approach to life. That’s the goal, anyway – we’ll see how the project plays itself out over time.
A blog is a two-way conversation – please post comments and reactions. Share with me and others how you understand the verse I’ve selected. Join me in creating a devotional practice, creating personal meaning within our sacred texts.
Happy is the man who has not walked in counsel of the wicked, or stood along with the path of sinners, or sat in the company of the insolent; rather, the teaching of Adonai is his delight, and he studies that teaching day and night. (1:1)
Walk, Stand, and Sit. It is easy to fall into undesirable habits. We can travel down a meaningless path in an unfulfilling job, we can stand around with people we dislike whose values and habits do not reinforce good behavior, we can sit around complaining that nothing ever goes our way.
Walking, Standing, and Sitting. We might try to escape a mindless life by stopping what we are doing and practicing stillness; we might try to can escape the exhaustion of endless standing and waiting by sitting down and searching for distraction on our electronic devices; we try to enliven our life by getting off the couch and doing something, anything to get us moving again.
The truth is that the path to a meaningful life is not determined solely by our habit of walking, standing, or sitting — it is determined by our inner life. What’s going on while we are walking, standing, and sitting? To what extent have we internalized a path of Torah so that we are carrying its values with us when we are at work and at play, while shopping and while out with friends, with our parents, children, spouse, or siblings.