Tag Archives: Siddur

Davening With Fire 002 The Real ‘Star Trek’ Transporter Machine

Mary Oliver I Go Down To The SeaAs a kid growing up in the 1960’s, Star Trek was a major fixture in life. That simple, elegant T.V. show opened so many avenues for thought and reflection. The characters and the story lines got me to think about life and morality and so much else

But it was those cool gadgets which ignited my fantasies. 

Chief among those gadgets was the transporter, a device which could beam a person or object to any destination at the speed of light. No waiting in lines. No security searches. No lost luggage. All that was needed was someone to operate the transporter. 

While such a transporter system is a long way off, I’ve discovered how the siddur, that simple book or prayers, can deliver me to other worlds and times and all in the speed of thought. To hold a siddur, whether it be ripped and worn or freshly purchased, is to hold Jewish destiny in my hands. To hold a siddur is to hold the same words that Maimonides and Rashi and all the holy ones of our people held. The paper and print may be different; many of the words themselves have been added or even changed (here and there) but the essence remains the same as it was thousands of years ago. 

So when life gets me down and worries pile high, high, high, I don’t say, ‘Beam me up, Scotty’. I pick up a siddur and suddenly I’m in the best of company: with those who’ve been there and done that in the best and worst of times and gave us all an eternal legacy which sustains and heals us. 

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Davening With Fire 001 Natan Sharansky & The Power Of Tehillim

I believe in the person I want to become



A story about Natan Sharansky, the former prisoner of conscience and tireless fighter for the Jewish people, recently made the local rounds. Someone spotted him doing a bit of pre-Shabbat shopping. Thrilled by the opportunity to be in close proximity to one of our present day heroes, this overwhelmed gushing observer could think of only question to ask Sharansky, ‘do you still carry the book of Psalms that Avital gave you when you were sent to Siberia?!’ With that, Sharansky revealed a tiny well worn book, held together by string and tape, and replied, ‘I don’t carry it; it carries me!’

Now that’s something I can relate to! Our eyes and minds trick us into believing that the material world rules us; yet, it’s the ideas which we hold dear that give us life. Our aspirations and longings lift us. And when the ideas are drawn from the book of Psalms (Tehillim) or the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) then those ideas can sustain a life in the Gulag or Siberia or the Nazi death camps or in the great spiritual depression of our time.