Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More on that 10th healing psalm, a day (or two) late

A couple of days ago, I posted the 10th in the series of Ten Healing Psalms according to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (Breslov).

I did not have time then to post the commentary from the book I've been using, so here are some excerpts.

The rabbi commenting is Rabbi Nancy Flam, and her commentary on Psalm 150 is called "Praise, Joy, Breath."

From the section entitled Praise:

***How can one praise God in the midst of serious illness? Praise God for one's situation not being worse? What if it is nearly as bad as one can imagine? Praise God for the memory of health? What if one was born with a congenital disease? Praise God for the depth of experience and insight which can come through suffering? Who wouldn't trade a little insight for a modicum of relief?

***The psalm says "Praise God for God's mighty deeds. ... What are these mighty deeds, this abundant greatness? The poem is vague; I do not know the author's intention. ...

***The mighty deeds might refer to God's intervening in history: Performing miracles such as splitting the Read Sea. Personally, I cannot conceive of God this way: A power who willfully changes the laws of nature to help a particular people. But I do affirm and praise God as the One who makes miracles everyday, according to the laws of the physical universe and the human spirit: The awesome power we sense as we witness fall turn to winter, and winter to spring; the One we feel when we experience true love and compassion; who has willed th natural cycle of growth and decay; in whose presence we find company in prayer.

***Such greatness pertains whether I am ill or well. Praise of God is not about me or my condition; it is about the reality of God.


***It may require a psycho-spiritual tour de force to praise God with joy and gladness in the midst of illness, but Rabbi Nachman challenges us to do so. Psalm 150 is nothing short of ecstatic, a glorious symphony which rises to a dazzling crescendo.... Perhaps the wildness expresses something crazed. Or perahps, in a rare moment of grace, one might play the music without fury, in touch with happiness, miraculously connected to God with praise in one's heart, lamrot hakol: Despite everything.


***HalleluYah: Praise God! The most breathy name of God is used here: Yah. Praise the Creator who breathed the breath of life into Adam and Eve and each one of us.

*******"The rabbis, of blessed memory, said, 'Let every soul (neshama) praise God.' This means: Praise God with each and every breath (neshima), so you can say at every moment and continually, "Blessed is the Merciful One, Ruler of the Universe, Master of this moment.'"
*************************Or HaGanuz LaTzadikim, p. 45

***The last line in the final psalm of Rabbi Nachman's tikkun brings us to an awarensss of the breath, rooting our being in the present moment, its reality and blessing. Fully present and mindful, we recognize that at all times, sick or well, we "have only moments to live" (Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living, 17).

From Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, C.S.W., ed. Healing of Soul, Healing of Body: Spiritual Leaders unfold the Strength and Solace of Psalms. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 1994.

The series began a little over ten days ago, before my friend P.'s bypass surgery, and continued each day with one Psalm (or excerpt from that Psalm) and a bit of commentary by a contemporary rabbi.

I posted every day, for instance and here. You can just scroll down to the first post and the work your way up if you are just arriving here.

Miriam and Jerusalem tambourines, Miriam tallit by Yair Emanuel

1 comment:

johnieb said...

This is a wonderful gift; I shall come back to it.

Thank you