והיה אם שמע | v’haya im shemo’a: a Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A midrashic translation/ interpretation of the second paragraph of the Sh’ma.[1]Deuteronomy 11:13-21

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

וְהָיָה
אִם שָׁמֹעַ
תִּשְׁמְעוּ
אֶל מִצְוֹתַי
אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם,
לְאַהֲבָה
אֶת יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם
וּלְעָבְדוֹ
בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם
וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁכֶם׃
 
Im Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh’mo-a
Tish’sh’sh’sh’ma-u:
If you hush’sh’sh’sh, truly hush’sh’sh’sh
To hear my Name, yes to hear and to listen —
 
YyyyHhhWwwwHhhh;
If you Breathe in my quiet,
Interbreathe with all Life
Still small Voice of us all —-

וְנָתַתִּי
מְטַר אַרְצְכֶם
בְּעִתּוֹ יוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ,
וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶךָ,
וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ:
וְנָתַתִּי
עֵשֶׂב בְּשָׂדְךָ לִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ,
וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ׃
You will feel the Connections;
You will make the connections
And the rain will fall rightly
The grains will grow rightly
And the rivers will run
So you and all creatures
Will eat well in harmony,
Earthlings / good Earth.

הִשָּׁמְרוּ לָכֶם פֶּן יִפְתֶּה לְבַבְכֶם,
וְסַרְתֶּם
וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים
וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם לָהֶם׃
But if you break the One Breath into pieces
If you erect into idols these pieces of Truth,
Bowing down to Big Oil, to Big Coal –
If you heat my Breath with your burnings —

וְחָרָה אַף יְיָ
בָּכֶם
וְעָצַר אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם
וְלֹא יִהְיֶה מָטָר
וְהָאֲדָמָה
לֹא תִתֵּן אֶת יְבוּלָהּ,
וַאֲבַדְתֶּם מְהֵרָה
מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה
אֲשֶׁר יְיָ נֹתֵן לָכֶם׃
Then my Breath will flare up into scorching,
The corn will parch in the field,
The poor will find little to eat,
And my Breath, my Wind, Holy Spirit
Will become a Hurricane of Disaster:
Floods will drown your cities,
My Wind will tear down your Power.

 
וְשַׂמְתֶּם אֶת דְּבָרַי אֵלֶּה עַל לְבַבְכֶם וְעַל נַפְשְׁכֶם, וּקְשַׁרְתֶּם אֹתָם לְאוֹת עַל יֶדְכֶם וְהָיוּ לְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם:

וְהָיָ֣ה לָכֶם֮ לְצִיצִת֒ וּרְאִיתֶ֣ם אֹת֗וֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְלֹֽא־תָתֻ֜רוּ אַחֲרֵ֤י לְבַבְכֶם֙ וְאַחֲרֵ֣י עֵֽינֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּ֥ם זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃

What must you do?
Connect what you see with your eyes
To what you do with your hands.
Look with joy and respect
On the threads of connection
That you tie as fringes
On the edges of your self.
Smooth Mountains of Power
Into valleys of abundance.
Turn to sun and My Wind
To empower my people.
Make My breath amidst you
A Hurricane of justice —
Then the grass will grow,
The forests will flourish,
And all life will weave the future in fullness.

לְמַעַן יִרְבּוּ
יְמֵיכֶם וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם
עַל הָאֲדָמָה
אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְיָ
לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לָתֵת לָהֶם,
כִּימֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם
עַל הָאָרֶץ׃
Then eysh and mayim,
Will join in shamayim:
Fire and water,
No longer in battle,
Will each find its place
In the balance of Earth:
The heavens will clear
And your lives will be lived
in heavenly joy.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Deuteronomy 11:13-21

Comments, Corrections, and Queries


בסיעתא דארעא