Akeidah Torah Meditation

This week’s Dvar Torah commentary on Parashat Vayeira is written by Rabbi Shefa Gold, a well-known spiritual teacher and developer of Jewish music. She wrote the poem below about Beresheit/ Genesis Chapter 22 in which Abraham is tested by G!D with the command to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on a mountaintop G!D will show him. This represents a contradiction for Abraham, because G!D has promised that the Divine Covenant with Abraham will continue through Isaac into the future. Nevertheless, when called with this seemingly contradictory command, Abraham answers with full presence and apparent assent by saying “Hineini/ Here I am” in response. 

Akeidah Torah Meditation
by Rabbi Shefa Gold

Even after all we have been through,
still each of us is tested.
Through trial,
we are called into our power, potential, compassion,
and vulnerability.
We are called to expand beyond our rigid beliefs
in order to embrace paradox. 
Hineni, Here I am.
 
And here is the challenge:
Take what is precious to you,
what you’ve been counting on,
what you have held impervious to the forces of change,
even that — your bottom line —
and lift it up as your offering.
 
And here’s the paradox I must embrace:
I have G!D’s promise of wholeness, continuity,
meaning, connection, and prosperity…
and then I am called by life’s challenges —
illness, divorce, the death of my loved ones,
the loss of fortune and meaning.
 
I hold these both as I walk up the mountain,
taking one step after the other,
carrying the wood, the fire, the knife.
With each step, I say Hineni, Here I am.
 
Here I am not knowing.
Here I am walking in the Mystery,
expanding to embrace this paradox,
trembling before the awesome contradiction
of my faith and my suffering.
 
Hineni. The first challenge is just showing up,
being completely present
to receive whatever Life has to offer me…
Blessing, loss,
praise, blame.
Carrying the wood, the fire, the knife…
only G!D will see the ram.
There at the peak of Mount Moriah,
the mountain of seeing,
I offer everything.
I finally surrender.
I admit that I don’t really know or see
how all this will work out.
But still, I say, Hineni.
 
And that’s when it happens:
The power of my complete presence
calls forth G!D’s Presence.
Against all odds, a ram appears in the thicket.
By some unimagined miracle,
I survive the vicissitudes of being human, and even thrive,
sparkling on as the stars of the sky.
Like the sand of the shore,
I am touched again and again
by the infinite ocean.
 
And when it’s time to come down that mountain,
I must become a blessing.
Even with my scars, doubts, and questions.
I breathe in blessing and breathe it out.
Even when that blessing is difficult or unfathomable.
To be a blessing means to know in my bones
the absolute truth of the goodness of Life,
no matter what.
To be a blessing
is to shine that simple truth.

Shabbat Shalom

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