The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Ein Banu Ma'asim

"Our Father*, our Ruler, be gracious to us and answer, for we have no deeds in us..."

So goes the line that Jews of all types sing so yearningly, over and over. Ein Banu Ma'asim it says, "we have no deeds"—not Ein Banu Ma'asim Tovim, "we have no good deeds", not "we have too few good deeds", not "we have no merit".

We have no deeds in us. Neither good deeds nor bad.

What we do is not "within us", not who we are. We are like empty vessels, our past is not etched into us, we stand naked and open, receiving, being shaped and used by Spirit. This is what it means to be fully present, to be moved by Spirit. We can't be there always. But we invite ourselves, again and again, to be there during the Yamim Nora'im, the High Holidays. To get there is what it means to be shown grace.

Choneinu Va'aneinu—Be gracious to us, answer us: Aseh imanu—do ts'dakah, charity, and chesed, loving kindness, with us, through us. Not "to us". Use us for deeds of love and generosity, fill us with deeds of righteousness.

This is the answer to prayer, once we recognize that ein banu ma'asim, we have nothing of our own. So we ask You, source of holiness, justice, love, to fill us with acts of love, v'hoshi'einu!

* One could also read "our parent" to be gender-neutral. For gender-inclusive versions of Avinu Malkeinu (as opposed to just "neutral"), see this note.


thanks for the vort. we are only pipes צינורות
for this we have the blessing
ברוך אתה השם פותח סתימות
and as in your commentary on the dreidel - this connects to the concept of guru as a remover of veils and not the source of light.

Posted by: ofer golany at January 9, 2008 9:17 AM


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