Okay, maybe a Bible verse turns some people off. But we're in need of some spiritual uplift this week. Can't get into details, but some depressing news in the extended family these days.
This has long been the most comforting prayer for me, even before a chassidic rabbi at the local Chabad told me it was rich in kabbalistic meaning. His wife gave me a copy to place under Lael's isolette in the maternity ward, which the nurses were careful not to discard.
Among observant Jews, it's traditional for women in labor, new mothers and anyone seriously sick or hospitalized to keep a copy under their pillow or post it on their door.
After my father died, I'd recite this while hiking in the Santa Monica mountains. I later learned the ancient mystics would chant it from the peaks of the hills of Judea, believing it brought them closer to G-d.
Psalm 121: A Song of Ascents*
I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
My help cometh from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved;
He that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, He that keepeth Israel
Doth neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper;
The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep thee from all evil;
He shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in,
From this time forth and forever.
Wishing you all a peaceful weekend.
*The translation is from the Jewish Publication Society of America.