It's funny, but when I was a kid, I thought that the Amidah was The Silent Prayer (intoned portentously, with a deep and booming echo). We would stand. We would mumble some Hebrew-sounding words. And then we would go silent.
There were no instructions, no words of wisdom from the bima to bend and bow, chant or sing or speak. Nothing. But we all went silent together. Our prayer book contained some Hebrew, but mostly old and dusty English, littered with "thees" and "thous" and a very male (and very stand-offish, kind of angry) God on high. So, we would come to this silently screeching halt, and I would try to keep focus, read the English (but really: who could get through that English with a straight face) (or worse, stay awake while reading it), and wait (fidget) until time started up again in a forward motion.
Who knew the sweetness, the power, the community contained in the Amidah? Why did no one ever tell me of the raw vulnerability offered at its start, and the answers that can be found later in its passion and hope? Yes, there is silence, but not the silence of the fidgety and bored. Rather, it's the silence of thought and consideration and yearning. It ascends in a delicate spiral, a plea-- for connection, for redemption, for past and present, peace and holiness. It is all there, a silent prayer, shared.
So, my own offering, another of my Bar Mitzvah poems. This one a reflection on the Amidah. Feel free to read it aloud. <3
- I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.