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תחינה לתחילת יומן חדש | Prayer on Beginning a New Journal, by Aharon N. Varady

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May it be your will ה׳,
my אֱלֹהַ,
אֱלֹהַ of my ancestors,
my ancestors who emigrated here whose journey I barely know,
my ancestors before them whose names I do not know,
that my intentions be revealed and known before me as clearly as they are before you,
that in the depths of my being,
thick and dark with the interconnected roots[1] Cf. Daniel 4:7-9 and Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav’s many thoughts on the condition of its roots 
seemingly impossible to disentangle
without doing violence
to the organic growth of my living being,
my eye remains open,
my ear remains listening,
my nose and palate sense while breathing deeply an awareness of the life that transcends my life to touch all of life,
through my thoughts to my actions,
and through my actions to my thoughts,
regardless of my transgressions,
regardless of my holy beautiful unifications,
and through this awareness bring unity to the Imagination that is Manifest
and to the Manifestation of your Name that I imagine,
in peace and in lovingkindness,
in the name of all יִשְׂרָאֵל,
and in the name of all your creation,
its diverse multiplicity interconnected with desire
through the unique needs of every creature
so as to express a Oneness parallel to a Oneness.[2] Cf. Zohar, Parshat Terumah §163, “k’gavneh“ 

May my thoughts seek truth and integrity,
the humility that is commensurate with my ignorance,
the compassion that arises from the depths of awareness,
as depths speak to depths,[3] cf. Psalms 42:8  
through that desperation
that embraces even Chaos
but which is supported by patience
for the time permitting the resolution of Chaos
from Understanding to Insight.

This is a prayer that I wrote at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center soon after I began studying at the Davidson School of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s experiential education program, back in 2011, when I began a new journal and began again a journaling practice. Whether I pray with my lips or write with my hand, my mind is searching for honesty and depth and to help myself perceive the reality of the world — and to do so with recognition of my lack of apprehension and with empathy and encouragement to continue the effort nevertheless. I hope that in sharing this petiḥah (opening prayer), that I can help to bring recognition to journaling as a genuine practice deeply interconnected with that of crafting one’s own siddur (Jewish prayer book).


Tekhina for honest journal reflections by Aharon Varady, from his journal.


1 Cf. Daniel 4:7-9 and Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav’s many thoughts on the condition of its roots
2 Cf. Zohar, Parshat Terumah §163, “k’gavneh
3 cf. Psalms 42:8

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