#BlogElul 2: Act

When I chant birchot ha'shachar (morning blessings), I use the sequence of 15 blessings from the Kol Haneshamah prayerbooks. Their translation for the ninth blessing, Baruch atah adonay eloheynu chey ha'olamim she'asah li kol tzorki is "Blessed are you, The Generous, our God, life of all the worlds, who acts for all my needs." (Most other translations translate she'asah as "who provides", or sometimes "who supplies or prepares." )

Who acts for all my needs. 

This is the blessing that gives me the most trouble. This is the blessing that on many a day makes me angry. Usually I am not angry on my behalf because on most days I feel grateful for the ways big and small that my needs are cared for. I recognize how fortunate I am.

But I also recognize that so many others are not so fortunate. Isn't God also acting for their needs?

I get especially angry when I think of all the children who do not have enough to eat, are homeless, or even worse do not have parents or caregivers who are loving them and tending to their emotional needs. I think of the children who are abandoned, abused, enslaved, imprisoned and my heart aches.

I simply do not understand why so many children suffer such shocking deprivations. Where is God for those children? If God acts for all my needs, surely God acts for their needs too.

So what does it mean that God acts

For today, my best answer to these age-old questions is to pray that God helps those suffering feel less alone in their suffering. And I pray that I might be one of many vessels of God, that my actions might serve to meet the needs of my loved ones, my community, and all humanity.


and maybe even this frog too...