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כַּוָּנָה וּבְרָכָה עַל רְאִיַּת נְחִיל רֶמֶשׂ גָּדוֹל עַד־מְאוֹד | Kavvanah and Blessing for Observing a Massive Swarm of Creeping Things, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

https://opensiddur.org/?p=37171 כַּוָּנָה וּבְרָכָה עַל רְאִיַּת נְחִיל רֶמֶשׂ גָּדוֹל עַד־מְאוֹד | Kavvanah and Blessing for Observing a Massive Swarm of Creeping Things, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer 2021-05-22 18:59:49 There are blessings for beautiful vistas, and there are blessings for powerful weather. But is there a blessing for giant swarms of bugs? Certainly! There just wasn't a kavvanah for it... yet. Inspired by the appearance of Brood X in May 2021, this is a meditation and blessing for the unique experience of seeing an enormous number of non-dangerous insects. Cicadas are NOT a plague — they don't eat crops or spread disease, but they do help revitalize the soil and keep forest ecosystems healthy. As a natural part of the universal order, we should work to see the divinity and goodness in them, even if we might normally think of them as gross. Text the Open Siddur Project Isaac Gantwerk Mayer Isaac Gantwerk Mayer https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Isaac Gantwerk Mayer https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ the Dry Season (Spring & Summer) Earth, our Collective Home & Life-Support System 58th century A.M. Periodical cicadas Brood X insects crawling things 21st century C.E.
There are blessings for beautiful vistas, and there are blessings for powerful weather. But is there a blessing for giant swarms of bugs? Certainly! There just wasn’t a kavvanah for it… yet. Inspired by the appearance of Brood X in May 2021, this is a meditation and blessing for the unique experience of seeing an enormous number of non-dangerous insects. Cicadas are NOT a plague — they don’t eat crops or spread disease, but they do help revitalize the soil and keep forest ecosystems healthy. As a natural part of the universal order, we should work to see the divinity and goodness in them, even if we might normally think of them as gross.

Note: “The CAUSE” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”


Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)
לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ,
בִּדְחִֽילוּ וּרְחִֽימוּ וּרְחִֽימוּ וּדְחִֽילוּ,
לְיַחֲדָא שֵׁם יוֹ״ד־הֵ״י בְּוָא״ו־הֵ״י בְּיִחוּדָא שְׁלִים,
בְּשֵׁם כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל.
הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵּם
מִצְוַת שְׁתֵי הַבְּרָכוֹת שֶׁתִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה
עַל־רְאִיַּת תּוֹפָעוֹת מְיֻחָדוֹת בַּטֶּֽבַע.
וְהִנֵּה הַבְּרָכָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה הִיא בְּרָכָה
עַל־הַתּוֹפָעוֹת שֶׁנִּכָּר בָּהֶם כּוֹחוֹ וּגְדֻלָּתוֹ
וְהַבְּרָכָה הָאַחֲרוֹנָה הִיא בְּרָכָה
עַל־הַתּוֹפָעוֹת שֶׁנִּטְבְּעוּ־כָּךְ בִּבְרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם׃
וְאַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁלֹּא תָּמִיד בְּיָדֵֽינוּ לִרְאוֹת אֶת־יׇפְיָם שֶׁבָּהֶם,
יׇפְיָם שֶׁבָּהֶם תָּמִיד בָּהֶם׃
To encourage a uniting of the blessed Holy One with the Presence,
in awe and in love, in love and in awe,
to unite the names Yod-Heh and Waw-Heh in inseparable unity
for all of Israel’s sake,
here I am, ready and prepared to fulfill
the commandment of the two blessings that the sages of blessed memory ordained
for the sight of unique natural phenomena.
And behold, the former blessing is a blessing
for the phenomena in which is revealed Divine strength and power,
and the latter blessing is a blessing
for phenomena which were established as such in the creation of the universe.
And although we are not always capable of seeing the beauty that is within them,
their beauty is always within them.
כַּכָּתוּב בְּסֵֽפֶר קׇדְשֶֽׁךָ עַל הַשָּׁבֽוּעַ הָרִאשׁוֹן —
וַיַּ֥רְא אֱלֹהִ֖ים כִּי־טֽוֹב׃ (בראשית א:כא,כה)
As it is written in Your holy Book about the first week:
And God saw that it was good.[1]  Multiple places in Genesis 1, but specifically vv. 21 and 25 are referenced here. 
וּבְמִשְׁלֵי הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַיּוֹדֵֽעַ לְשׁוֹן הַחִיּוּת כָּתוּב לֵאמֹר —
מֶ֭לֶךְ אֵ֣ין לָאַרְבֶּ֑ה וַיֵּצֵ֖א חֹצֵ֣ץ כֻּלּֽוֹ׃ (משלי ל:כז)
And in the proverbs of the king[2]  Solomon.  who knew the tongue of animals it is written, saying:
The locusts have no king, but go out all regimented. (Proverbs 30:27)
וּבִנְבוּאַת חׇזְקֵי־הָאֵל הַבָּאִים כָּתוּב לֵאמֹר —
וְהָיָ֣ה כׇל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֣ה ׀ אֲֽשֶׁר־יִשְׁרֹ֡ץ אֶ֣ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁר֩ יָב֨וֹא שָׁ֤ם נַחֲלַ֙יִם֙ יִֽחְיֶ֔ה
וְהָיָ֥ה הַדָּגָ֖ה רַבָּ֣ה מְאֹ֑ד כִּי֩ בָ֨אוּ שָׁ֜מָּה הַמַּ֣יִם הָאֵ֗לֶּה
וְיֵרָֽפְאוּ֙ וָחָ֔י כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־יָ֥בוֹא שָׁ֖מָּה הַנָּֽחַל׃ (יחזקאל מז:ט)
And in the prophecy of the strengths of God[3]  “the strengths of God” is ḥozqei El, a pun on Yeḥezqel (Ezekiel).  to come it is written, saying:
And it will be, that all living beings that swarm will live wherever the twain streams come,
and there will be a great many fish when these waters have come there,
and it will be healing, and everything that comes where the stream comes will live. (Ezekiel 47:9)
וְתָּנוּ רַבָּנַן,
אָדָם נִבְרָא בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת וּמִפְּנֵי מָה?
…שֶׁאִם תָּזוּחַ דַּעְתּוֹ עָלָיו אוֹמֵר לוֹ
יַתּוּשׁ קְדָמְךָ בְּמַעֲשֵׂה בְּרֵאשִׁית׃ (תוספתא סנהדרין ח:ד)
And our Rabbis taught in the Tosefta,
Man was created on Shabbat eve why?…
So that if his mind becomes haughty, to say to him,
The gnat preceded you in the makings of creation! (Tosefta Sanhedrin 8:4)[4]  cited in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 38a. 
אַתָּה יָצַרְתָּ אֶת־כׇּל־הַגְּדוֹלִים וְאֶת־כׇּל־הַקְּטֻנִּים
וְנֹאמַר כִּי הִנֵּה טוֹב מְאֹד׃
וִיהִ֤י ׀ נֹ֤עַם אֲדֹנָ֥י אֱלֹהֵ֗ינוּ עָ֫לֵ֥ינוּ
וּמַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָ֭דֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָ֥ה עָלֵ֑ינוּ
וּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָ֝דֵ֗ינוּ כּוֹנְנֵֽהוּ׃ (תהלים צ:יז)
You made everything great and everything small,
and we say that it is all very good.
May the favor of the Master our God be upon us,
and may the makings of our hands be established upon us,
and establish the makings of our hands! (Psalms 90:17)[5]  the traditional conclusion of a meditation. 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
שֶׁכֹּחוֹ וּגְבוּרָתוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם׃
Blessed are You,
CAUSE our God,
Sovereign of the Universe,
whose strength and power fills the world.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה
יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ
מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂה בְרֵאשִׁית׃
Blessed are You,
CAUSE our God,
Sovereign of the Universe,
who makes the makings of creation.

This kavvanah was prepared by the author during the emergence of the brood X of periodical cicadas in the eastern region of the United States of America in the third week of May 2021.

 

Notes

Notes
1 Multiple places in Genesis 1, but specifically vv. 21 and 25 are referenced here.
2 Solomon.
3 “the strengths of God” is ḥozqei El, a pun on Yeḥezqel (Ezekiel).
4 cited in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 38a.
5 the traditional conclusion of a meditation.
 

 

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