I sleep and my heart is awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking: “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.” (Solomon 5:2)
In Jerusalem, religion is everywhere. In the bells of the churches, the mosque’s call to prayer, and in the prayers sounding loudly from the windows of the temple on a Friday evening.
In Jerusalem, religion can mean war, hatred, disobedience, TENSION.
But oh how I miss the holiness of Jerusalem. This holiness is not necessarily religious. It is simply this feeling that nothing is “unimportant”, and everything is sacred. That the beggar on the street, the rich man walking in the German Colony (a wealthy neighborhood of Jerusalem), and the little girl running in the old city in her long skirt are all important, each in their way. This holiness is a feeling that no day is ordinary, and miracles await us at every corner. This holiness does not mean that Friday night prayer for the Jew, or the 5 prayers for Muslims, or the Catholic prayer are any more important than the moment when you walk the streets of Jerusalem, and your heart is awake! Or perhaps, you sleep, and your heart is awake.
Nava Tehila is a Jerusalem based NGO, and they create beautiful and engaging music and prayer spaces all around the city. Every second Friday, Nava Tehila sits in a circle at the basement of a synagogue, surrounded by many individuals who all sit together and pray, in song, and even raging dance! One of the most beautiful psalms sung by Nava Tehila is “I sleep and my heart is awake“.
This incredible prayer, to me, means that even when we are asleep, our heart is awakened to the holiness of the world, and to our holy body – our vessel in this world. And most importantly, I would change the word even to precisely: precisely when I am asleep, my heart is awake! Because my body gives in to the holiness of ordinary life and ordinary moments, without analysis or deep thought.
Think back, right now, to the moment when you last remember being truly happy. You just felt the ordinariness of that moment, perhaps watching your children, the sunset, or green leaves tucked away in some corner of a busy, dirty street, making their way to the rays of sun.
I invite you today to bask in a very ordinary moment of sacredness in your heart, and to love yourself and this moment just as much as any significant event or occasion in your life.
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