Magazine article Tikkun

Pearl Abraham

Magazine article Tikkun

Pearl Abraham

Article excerpt

Some sharpen ten pencils, others read poetry For some, daily sameness is the requirement. Writers get started in various ways. I like taking my first cup of coffee at my desk, a slow waking. Some mornings, looking at where I've left off the day before, what comes to mind is the prayer before praying, the words that are at the commencement of the silent prayer, and which for years I recited daily.

"Open my lips, my lord, and my mouth will say your praises."

The passivity written into the statement itself, " my mouth," not I, "will say your praises," implies a certain helplessness in the matter, an acknowledgment that only with divine help is the recital possible. Writers have written of a similar feeling, of moments in which they are mere mediums through whom the story is told, renouncing their own powers. Henry James' donne has been interpreted this way.

There is a more rational explanation for such experiences: intense concentration. In Jewish services, though the text is entirely circumscribed, the level of concentration while praying is what makes it a uniquely creative act. …

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