אֶשָׂא עֵנַי | An adaptation of Esa Eynai (Psalms 121:1-2), by Ed Towbin-Issur haLevi

At B’nai Havurah, the Denver Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, located in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, we consider this psalm a local favorite. Psalm 121, described as a Song for the Ascents, traditionally looks to the heights, where godly powers were believed to reside, such as Mt. Sinai, or the Acropolis, to find divine help, in the person of God or The Unseen One. My proposal is a variation that adjusts our focus to this world, away from the supernatural, to acknowledge our responsibility for the well-being of ourselves and the environment. Whatever deeds and actions that may need to be taken for repair and preservation of our world, we are responsible for. To look for others to do the work for us, or to postpone acting until divine help comes, may turn out to be the height of recklessness for our own, as well as our children’s future. First we acknowledge what is here and real, then we commit to do what we can to solve problems and make things better. This variation is designed to allow it to be sung, with some adjustments, in community with others who are singing the traditional version in Hebrew and English. . . .

פְּרִי עֵץ הַדַּעַת עַל צַלַּחַת סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge on the Tu biShvat Seder Plate, by Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx

Through eating those fruits that our sages of blessed memory identified as the fruit of the tree of knowledge, we recall the best of creation, in its beauty and completeness. We remember that every human being, by virtue of being a human being, is the pinnacle of creation. Our task as caretakers is to preserve the world, to work it, and to repair it. Our task is to make the State of Israel more just, so that she will be a blessing to all of her inhabitants and those who love her. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא