Monday, April 24, 2017

A Profound Meditation on Judaism's Most Important Prayer

Recently I had a chance to do some spiritual creative writing with The Davis Academy's 3rd grade students. Gathered in our beautiful Kaufman Chapel on a quiet Thursday morning I asked the students to reflect on the Shema, Judaism's central prayer. To encourage their creative process I gave them the "title" for a poem, essay, acrostic, or other form of creative writing. Since the Shema proclaims the Unity and Oneness of God, that "title" was "One."

I received many thoughtful responses, but one response nearly knocked me out of my desk chair. It was written by Jordan Ulin and is shared here with his and his parents' permission.

To listen and absorb all the raw
sound of the world. Absorb
all the sounds and make them
all one sound that creates a song.

To listen. To absorb. Raw sound of the world. To take those sounds and create a song. It takes a truly open heart to come to this appreciation and be able to express it in words. At least that's my opinion. 

After I shared this piece with Jordan's parents, his father sent me a follow up email. In that email, Jordan's father said that Jordan had further explained what he meant: "He explained that essentially God created all the sounds and song was the way to return it to Him." Jordan's father also explained that a drawing that accompanied the piece, "was supposed to represent the world comprised of different music notes." 

I am so grateful to Jordan for sharing such a thoughtful and profound meditation on the Shema with me and with all who read this blog post. I can honestly say that my experience of reciting this special prayer is enhanced by his wisdom and insight. 

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