Magazine article Tikkun

Renewing Liturgy

Magazine article Tikkun

Renewing Liturgy

Article excerpt

The form of the Prayer is piyyut (a religious poem). This seemed to be a natural choice. It is an overwhelmingly diasporic form which flourished in the great Diaspora communities of the Middle Ages. In my mind, I framed the prayer between two powerful religious and literary moments. On the one hand, Yehudah Halevi's famous line: "My heart is in the East, and I am at the far reaches of the West" (???); on the other hand, Isaiah's statement, "Zion will be redeemed with justice, and those who return to her with righteousness."

The piyyut is a movement between those two poles. Halevi's longing for Zion never had to deal with a reality of a political state. The longing remains in its romantic moment. The beloved is always pure and beautiful, the lover always desirous and obsessed or overwhelmed by that desire. At the same time, Halevi's lover of Zion stays in the far reaches of the west, where the desire itself is a certain type of righteousness.

What happens when desire is fulfilled? …

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