Community Blog Blessings and Hope from Jerusalem

By Rabbi Minna Bromberg
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Ana elekh merukhekha? Wither can I go from Your spirit?” asks the psalmist wondering how it can be that the Divine can find us wherever we are. This ancient question feels immediately relevant: how can we connect with this Presence in times when so many of us feel at once stuck in place and adrift at sea? My song juxtaposes verses of Psalm 139 with a quote from a letter written in September 1916 by Zionist thinker and teacher A.D. Gordon. The letter is to a young pioneer wondering whether it’s better for her to stay in the Land of Israel or go back to Europe. And if she does go to Europe will the War prevent her from being able to return? Gordon’s answer offers us a different approach to wondering about whether we are where we ought to be. “Life’s center,” he writes, “is neither there nor here, but within you.”

 

“Ana elekh merukhekha” by Rabbi Minna Bromberg

אָ֭נָ֥ה אֵלֵ֣ךְ מֵרוּחֶ֑ךָ וְ֝אָ֗נָה מִפָּנֶ֥יךָ אֶבְרָֽח׃ אִם־אֶסַּ֣ק שָׁ֭מַיִם שָׁ֣ם אָ֑תָּה וְאַצִּ֖יעָה שְּׁא֣וֹל הִנֶּֽךָּ׃

Ana elekh merukhekha? V’ana mipanekha evrakh? Im esak shamayim sham ata v’atzia she’ol hineka.
Where can I go from Your spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I descend to Sheol, You are there too.

מרכז החיים הוא לא שם ולא פה כי אם בך ב״אני״ שלך

Merkaz hakhayim hu lo sham v’lo po ki im bakh ba’ani shelakh.
Life’s center is neither there nor here but within you, in your “I.”

אֶשָּׂ֥א כַנְפֵי־שָׁ֑חַר אֶ֝שְׁכְּנָ֗ה בְּאַחֲרִ֥ית יָֽם׃ גַּם־שָׁ֭ם יָדְךָ֣ תַנְחֵ֑נִי וְֽתֹאחֲזֵ֥נִי יְמִינֶֽךָ

Esa kanfei shakhar eshkena be’akharit yam, gam sham yadkha tankheni v’tokhazeni y’minekha.
If I take wing with the dawn to come to rest at the ends of the sea, even there Your hand will be guiding me, Your right hand will be holding me fast.


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