Meta

I Must Praise God

By Epictetus (1st century), as published in Rabbi Morrison David Bial (ed.), An Offering of Prayer: Prayers and Meditations Private and Public (Summit, NJ: Temple Sinai of Summit, 1962), p. 21.

And what words can truly express our praise of the works of Providence? if we had understanding, ought we not incessantly sing hymns to the Deity to rehearse His benefits? Ought we not as we dig or we plow or eat, sing a hymn to God? Great is God who has given us the strength and skill and tools to till the ground! Who has given us limbs and power and organs! And that which should be the subject of the greatest and most divine hymn: that he has granted us the faculty of apprehending his gifts!

What else then can I, a lame old man, do but chant the praise of God? If I were a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale; if a swan, as a swan. But as I am a rational creature, I must praise God. This is my task and I will do it. nor will I leave this duty so long as I live; and I exhort you all to join in this same thing.

Advertisements

A Meditation on Prayer

By Alvin I. Fine, as published in Rabbi Morrison David Bial (ed.), An Offering of Prayer: Prayers and Meditations Private and Public (Summit, NJ: Temple Sinai of Summit, 1962), p. 10. Adapted by Hinda Tz. Eisen, 2013.

Prayer is aspiration. The self-satisfied disregard it. They who reach for higher things find it a necessity.

Prayer is a discipline. They who seek meaning and purpose in life discover it was a wise teacher.

Prayer is an art. We perfect it only through practice.

Never are we more truly and nobly ourselves than when we pray. Never are we more honestly aware of our shortcomings than when we are in God’s presence. never do we aspire more earnestly toward self-improvement and human betterment than when we worship Him.

Gradually, the interval between prayer and deed diminishes until, at last, all life becomes a sanctuary.

“I rejoiced when they said unto me: ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'” (Psalms 122:1)

Who am I in God’s Picture?

by Hinda Tzivia Eisen, summer 2013.

I feel insignificant.

When God is infinite, and there are seven billion people in the world, how much audacity must I have to believe that God pays attention to me? How selfish to think I deserve for Him to heed me.

And yet, I do. I do believe that I am in God’s consciousness. I do believe He checks in on me when I call. And also when I am not looking — like a parent who checks in on a sleeping child.

So I vacillate between feeling deeply tiny in this Universe, and feeling a bloated sense that my God is with me.

Even in the best of times we must choose the torch we carry wisely, and we must be careful who we choose to illumine.