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Section 4 of “Shekhinah: The Presence” by Joseph Zitt
This is an unedited scan of the text, courtesy of Josh Ronsen
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"Bless the Lord, who is blessed!" Our leader returns, her arms waving semaphores and signals, disrupting our focus, returning our eyes voices hearts to the service we are sworn to perform returning our attention to the call to the Creator who demands prayer attention obedience away from the Presence, his Presence in her form she who radiates love comfort joy We breathe and turn, delaying, denying ourselves the ecstasy for the moment until we can complete the patterns of prayer dictated by law and debated by teachers over the centuries, yet still, in their variations, very close to the same; any one of us, transported to a hall of prayer anywhere in our world would recognize the litany and find comfort in its cadences, another door which is all doors, another portal of words which connects our world to a world without words our world today to the world to come, or, at least, to the world to which each of us, individually, may someday come though we know well (some more consciously than others) that the world to come is already here, that we may dwell within it and it within us in our prayers meditations fantasies dreams that the stillness of the Sabbath is a precreation of what we will (someday, somehow) see. "Bless the Lord, who is blessed!" calls our leader, and the phrase loops back on itself in its simplicity the Lord is blessed, so we must bless the Lord the Lord is blessed, and from the Lord derives all blessing so how could we bless the Lord? the Lord is blessed and blesses all of us so we bless the Lord, as the Lord has blessed us, our blessings the reflections in a pitted mirror of the blessings he bestows on us our souls reaching out, reaching in trying to find and echo the shards of the infinite embedded, glowing deep within us, our hearts pulsing with a rhythm (in the silence of true meditation we can hear it, feel it) that we hope may match the breaths and tempos of the root tone of the universe our voices when we raise them in song all in tune all in key all in rhythm so that when we find a share the central tone the pulse beat of the heart of the Lord the frequency, the pitch and color of the Lord's power, the Lord's Presence (who stands among us surrounded by us, surrounding us joining us, her glowing resonance synchronized with the power of the Lord her ancient father groom child) the shards in our souls may again emerge merge vibrate fuse and join all worlds with the greater world so we bless the Lord calling back to our leader "Blessed in the Lord who is blessed now and in eternity" here and out to other worlds blessed praised glorified exalted upraised every soul will bless the Lord who is blessing who is blessed those of us who may or may not be blessing the Lord who may or may not be caught up in the circle of blessing still feel the prayer that flows from (to) the hearts of the believers those of us who may or may not believe still share the words so that from the words from the letters and silences of the prayers we might deconstruct and reconstruct rebuild rephrase reinterpret these feelings into new prayers new statements new beliefs that might resonate with our own hearts minds souls and with the different tone of the prayer as written as spoken as believed by those of us who do fervently believe "Blessed is the Lord who is Blessed forever and ever" as our leader proclaims repeating our response as her own then withdrawing from this moment of joined voices and statements sample in words yet tangled in meaning we pray the details all our voices joined yet unjoined speaking larger yet smaller words in private utterances together, yet unsynchronized and the Presence for that moment focused in a single beam of holiness diffuses spreads surrounds us and we grasp the Presence our hands warmed by the contact the warmth is spreading through us from the touch as the night chill dissipates as the sun appears to rise from the East, behind the Ark as the beams and shadows shorten, widen as we spin toward it, until it, later, meets and illuminates the roof of the sky and we raise her up and she raises us up and she spreads her arms (slender, like the legs of grasshoppers, gentle, like the wings of swans, lithe, like the upraised branches of an inverted willow) and echoes our leader's signs and cries of supplication as our legs, supporting us, and, by extension, supporting her as her radiance, in its fields of power supports our souls echo the steps of our leader through the pathways of the law the litanies we speak together the unseen trails of the wonders of which we speak as we move and speak in the phrases of our Teachers in the motions of our leader in the comfort of the Presence of the actions of the Lord echoing cascading rippling out like the wake of a skipped stone upon the surface of what was once uniformed and uniform undistilled and undifferentiated until a word Let there be spread among the sacred and the mundane and formed the frames of radiance that illuminate the Earth and those who dwell upon it... created glory for his Name, and placed luminaries about his majesty... the leaders of his legions, the holy ones... the ministering angels, who stand at the summit of the universe... beloved, flawless, mighty and our leader, hearing our independent streams of prayer approach the merging point, the delta where prayer comes again together, calls out: "and they all give each other permission to sanctify the One who created them in tranquility with pure speech and sacred melody and all proclaim in reverence in holiness:" and our voices merge and our songs and bodies move together, we, our leader, the Presence (with her ever-widening glow), those who believe, those who may or may not believe, the Seraphim, the Ofanim, all the holy beings, one joined people and ten levels of angels, proclaiming: "Holy!" (we rise up on pointed toes) "Holy!" (rise higher, straining toward the heavens) "Holy!" (that the glow of the Presence might meet the light of the Creator) "is the Lord, Master of Legions! The world is filled with his Glory!" and we overflow, run, dance, to the sweet melodies of the creation to which our souls sing harmony in as many keys as there are people, souls, and angels and we try to merge our souls as we might gather together the fringes from the four corners of our prayer shawls as we might be gathered to the Presence from the four corners of the Earth as we might be gathered into the World to Come from all the corners the nooks and lost alleyways of present, imagines, and parallel lines of time and we close our eyes and our leader stops her motion, and, in a sudden moment of infinite silence, locks her eyes with the eyes of the Presence and we, focusing with light-fused wills the intensity of our intention, prepare to proclaim the core of our existence in a unified joyful cry.
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