Okay, no pun intended, though I am decidedly on the “right” wing of Judaism. Hahaha.
Really, this post is about assessing what direction you (or me) are moving in. In seminary I learned that if you’re not moving up spiritually, you’re moving down. There is no such thing as a plateau. But, hey, no pressure, right?
This past Shabbos, I had the luxury of davening. In shul. With other people. As the mother of two little boys, this does not happen often. So I tried to really focus on the words of the tefillah, to really concentrate on what I was saying (not so simple, actually).
In the text of the prayer commonly known as “Ashrei,” there is one verse in particular which is supposed to be said with “intense concentration.” This verse, in English, reads
“He opens his hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.”
Now, there are certainly various opinions on what one could focus on during the recitation of this verse. Personally, I focus on the concept that in whatever direction a person desire to go, Hashem will make the path available, so to speak. So, if I really, really desire to grow spiritually, Hashem will present me with choices that will move me in that direction. And, if the opposite (G-d forbid), different choices will appear.
So, when I was davening this past Shabbos, and I came to this verse, I thought to myself, which direction am I going? What are my choices saying about my desires? And how can I make choices that are going to move me in the right direction?
The holiday of Shavuous is fast approaching (it’s next week!). This is holiday where we celebrate the giving of the Torah, where the Jewish people accepted the mitzvos, sight unseen. This seems like an appropriate time of year to assess where we’re holding as far as observance of the mitzvos goes.
If you say Ashrei, what do you think about when saying that verse?