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Section 10 of “Shekhinah: The Presence” by Joseph Zitt
This is an unedited scan of the text, courtesy of Josh Ronsen
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In hushes close to silence the prayers dissolve, transmute. Those who follow minority traditions [NOTE FROM JOSH: minority sounds too clinical; how bout other traditions] continue, reading psalms commandments structures of principles a daily page of learning together, apart, in pairs, in silence. Others, prayers finished for the morning, prepare to leave. The murmur of the congregants slowly shifts from the magical to the mundane from sacred texts to software systems from Bible study to business plans. There is no prayer to mark the end of prayer, no verbal separation between the sacred and the secular. Worshippers reach for the velvet bags placed earlier on the shelf and gradually remove from themselves the boxes of prayers the leather straps the prayers shawls, black and white and blue, fringes of white and blue. But the sense of the Presence the holiness of the articles in which the congregants have clothed themselves to pray is not removed; a coating of the sacred stays with each soul, to be preserved, enhanced, or dissipated by the actions of the day. Listen now: the last of the prayers is complete, the sounds of the service replaced by traffic banter telephone calls. This hall of prayers is now again a room with sacred books and the Ark, with its scrolls within, mute, yet bearing silent testimony to the purpose that they will once again serve. Look now, touch the textures of the wooden walls seats floors, inhale, taste, the air of this room, now mundane but retaining some strange sacredness, feel, with senses that have no human name, the Presence who waits forever in this hall who looks down from heaven and ahead and back at ancestors and children across the plains of space along the rivers of time who follows those who move within this apparently real world. The leather straps unwind unspelling the Holy Name encrypted in their twists. (No golem now could be enlivened by these items as they lie, dark, inert, within their cases; a human touch must warm them, give them form, before any sacred power can course along their lines.) The prayer shawls fold, in half, quarters, then in eighths, gently, solemnly, like honored flags, and join the others in their cases. It's time to go home now. Yet the Presence reaches out once more all moments crystallized within her gaze. Invisible, in silence, she moves along, around the time-encrusted congregants, to grace the hall, the walls, the doorways through which all who leave must pass. One final kiss, then, for those who leave to greet the warmth of the morning. Her spirit fills the box of memories that stands sentry on the doorposts of the hall. One kiss then, as she stands there in her gentle light. Sister to the scrolls, she touches lips to hands, as those who pass her have touched theirs to theirs, then touches hands to loving hands and her fingers whisper messages to the listening palms of those who sense her there: I am with you now, forever, as you venture out, into the harsher rush of morning. I have always been with you, in righteousness and justice, kindness, mercy, with you who knew of me and loved me, even with each of you who may or may not have known that I was there, who may or may not have cared, have listened, have believed. I will always be with you, in faithfulness, and you will know my love as you wander onward through this world, as you pass beyond this life to the unknown, as you, within the mist, await the day that all times will again be one, that all of space will come together, that the river of life will flow beyond the pillars beyond the walls between the worlds and what was once the Earth will be once again a garden and all pain will forever be banished and all people will be clothed in the flesh of truth and honest love and all will eat without shame of the firm, sweet fruit of life digesting the knowledge of good and evil and the serpents will again wlak proudly, will walk straight-legged, tall and wise, and all creatures will discover their true names as whispered in their ears by Adam but forgotten for an endless moment when first the garden was concealed. I am with you, was, will be with you in all my hidden forms: Rachel, tears about to turn to joy at the transformation of her children the Sacred Scrolls, the ink and parchment gaining life and dancing free, a skin of comfort the Moon, her cycles shown to be illusions framed by the tides of Earth, forever full, forever shining, with glory equal to the sun the Sabbath, Queen of Comfort, mystic day that all days will soon become. Listen: the daughter of a voice you hear within as you catch your breath before you say each one of your passing prayers is the modulation the harmony of my voice with your own. Listen: Here till the end of days we together as one now stand. Listen: I will be with you, remaining here in my hall to dream as in my dreams I enter yours and guide you onward through the world of life through the world of dreams through the greater world within your souls.
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