From the Depths
Mima’amakim k’raticha Yah
From the Depths I call to You, Oh God. Hear my Voice! (Psalm 130:1)
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Water is my teacher in so many ways. From water I learn about flow, nourishment, transformation, purification, rebirth and depth. Psalm 130:1 says, “From the Depths I call to You….” When I chant these words, I keep reaching deeper, touching the vastness within me, which merges with the You to whom I call. The Zohar explains this process of prayer “from the Depths” as touching the source-place from which all blessings flow. Jewish texts often bring in one verse to explain another. Genesis 2:10 becomes the explanation Psalm 130. It says, “A River flows from Eden to water the Garden.” When we touch our own depths, we are opening the Source within us and allowing that original flow to water the garden of our lives. When I call to God from those depths I experience “the Holy Confusion.” Suddenly I don’t know who is calling and who is being called. Am I calling to God? Or is it God calling to me from the depths? After a while I let go of this “Holy Confusion,” and I just let the waters wash me clean, nourish me, open me. I surrender to those depths.
~ Rabbi Shefa GoldRabbi Shefa Gold is a leader in Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP, the Center for Devotional Energy and Ecstatic Practice, in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Rabbi Gold composes and performs spiritual music and has produced ten albums. She teaches workshops and retreats on chanting, devotional healing, spiritual community building and meditation, and she trains chant leaders in Kol Zimra, a two-year program for rabbis, cantors and lay leaders. Rabbi Gold combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Native American spiritual traditions, making her uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs. According to Wikipedia, “Psalm 130 is recited as part of the liturgy for the High Holidays, sung responsively before the open Torah ark during the morning service from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. The custom of reciting this psalm during these times had long lay dormant until it was revived in the Birnbaum and Artscroll siddurim in the 20th century.” Audio recording and text © Rabbi Shefa Gold; for reuse rights contact the artist at shefa [AT] rabbishefagold [DOT] com. Photograph is from the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection at the U.S. Library of Congress and is in the public domain.