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One Thing I ask

09/14/2017 11:10:00 AM


Beth Schafer

Over the past three weeks and into Sukkot, we sing words from Psalm 27, Achat Sha'alti me'et Adonai Otah avakesh, shivti b'veit Adonai kol y'mei chayai, lachazot b'noam Adonai ulvakeir b'heichalo. “One thing have I asked of God, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of God all the days of my life, to behold the graciousn​ess of God, and to visit early in God’s temple.” What does this mean? One interpretation comes from the idea that our bodies are actually God’s house. To dwell in God’s house is to be present in our bodies, to be mindful of our actions. To visit early in God’s temple is to wake up and give thanks for our souls - God’s animation within us. Certainly, as we approach our Holy Days, we become more and more mindful of what we have done in the past year; but do we commit to being present and mindful in the coming year? This is what Psalm 27 is challenging us to do.

Reflecting on these words I can’t help but ask, what one thing do I ask for this New Year? If we could only ask for one thing, pray for one significant change in the coming year, would it be something for ourselves? Our family? Our world? To me it still comes back to mindfulness, for if we are hyper-aware, intent to listen more than rushing to speak, empathetic not just for those we know and love, but also for the stranger, then surely we will behold the graciousness of God. I hope and pray that each of us experiences a moment of grace this Shabbat as we sing these words and strive to be mindful this High Holy Day season. The old adage rings true: you get out what you put in. May this Shabbat prepare us for the holy work of praying with intention and may we reap the rewards of satisfaction and contentment for having done so.

Shabbat Shalom,


Tue, August 4 2020 14 Av 5780