Nishmat: Breath of all Life

When God speaks to us through Torah, say our sages, we echo the learning back to God through prayer. As we wrestled with the Breath of Life to write the prayerbook Or Chadash, this came as my reflection of the Torah we were learning, embodied in the very Breath we were breathing as we spoke with each other. When the "still, small Voice" spoke to Elijah, what he heard was simply the Breathing of all life. And now that we know that on Planet Earth the Interbreath of Oxygen and CO2 is in deep and dangerous imbalance, we can feel and hear that what we call "the climate crisis" is a crisis in the Name of God. So here is a translation of the Nishmat prayer (in the Shabbat morning service).

You Whose very Name ---
YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh --
Is the Breath of Life,
The breathing of all life
Gives joy and blessing to Your Name.

As lovers lie within each other's arms,
Whispering each the other's name
Into the other's ear,
So we lie in Your arms,
Breathing with each breath
Your Name, Your Truth, Your Unity.

You alone,
Your Breath of Life alone,
Guides us,
Frees us,
Transforms us,
Heals us,
Nurtures us,
Teaches us.

First, last,
Future, past,
Inward, outward,
Beyond, between,
You are the breathing that gives life to all the worlds.
And we do the breathing that gives life to all the worlds.

As we breathe out what the trees breathe in,
And the trees breathe out what we breathe in,
So we breathe each other into life,
We and You.



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