Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Kavvanah, 6/28/11 - Completing God's Vision

In Psalm 145, usually known by its introductory moniker, Ashrei, we find a familiar line that is as much praise of God as it ia a challenge to humanity. It's the line that begins with the letter peh (this psalm is an aleph-betical acrostic):

פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת-יָדֶךָ; וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל-חַי רָצוֹן.
Poteah et yadekha, umasbi'a lekhol hai ratzon.
You open Your hand, and satisfy the needs of every living thing. (Psalm 145:16)

Like many tefillot, this line should be understood as more of an idealized vision of what could be, rather than reflecting reality. As we all know, not everybody gets what they need in this world, food or otherwise. There are hungry, needy people among both the faithful and the non-believers.

Some have the custom when reciting this line of opening their hands, palms facing upwards, to physically illustrate this tefillah. Or perhaps it's a way of indicating our part of the vision, as if to say, my hands are open; please fill me and all the rest of humanity to satisfaction.

Regardless, the reality on the ground is that this vision is incomplete - God cannot fulfill the expressed desire alone; we must partner with God to make it happen.

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