Bonus quote: The quieter the mind, the more powerful, the
worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the
prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible.
Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Photo: Chuck Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman
The Religion Network
Inspirational Quotes for the Day.
TODAY'S INSPIRATIONAL THEME: Women of the Season
This page changes each weekday.
At the top of the Home Page:
--The story of Judith
For Prayer Warriors who scroll down:
And the Last Word: Frank Borman, Apollo 8
And now, the Last Word:
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
Tao Te Ching
WELCOME! I'm Lisa Bowman. The Religion Network is an interfaith website providing daily inspiration,
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Photo by Stephen Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Did you know that the Code of Jewish Law, the Shulhan Arukh,
stipulates that while the Chanukkah candles burn, no one is to
engage in work....especially women. One of the reasons for this
special consideration for women is the story of the courageous
Judith. Interestingly, this story is found in the Apocrypha, books
from the Biblical period that are in the Catholic collection, but not
the Hebrew Bible. However, a Hebrew variation of Judith's story
was read on Chanukkah during the Middle Ages.
Judith is a brave and beautiful woman. When a wicked general
named Holofernes attacks her town of Bethulia, she comes up with
a plan. The elders ignore her, for they plan to surrender. But Judith
argues against their decision:
Who are you, that have put God to the test this day, and are setting yourselves up in the place
of God among the sons of men? You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test --but you will
never know anything! You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart, nor find out what a
man is thinking; how do you expect to search out God, who made all these things, and find out
his mind or comprehend his thought? (Judith 8: 12-13)
Judith convinces the elders to let her go into the enemy camp for one day. Dressed beautifully, she carries
food and wine. Judith is captured and brought before Holofernes. He is captivated by her and her prophesy
that he will capture Bethulia. She offers to celebrate with him in his tent, whereupon she coaxes him to
drink until he falls asleep, drunk. Judith cuts off his head and puts in her sack, carrying it back to the elders,
who place the head on the walls of the city. The enemy is deeply shaken. If a Jewish woman is this brave,
how can they hope to conquer the men in battle? Judith has saved her city.
(Source: MyJewishLearning.com; "Hanukkah: The Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration" by Dr. Ron Wolfson,
which can be found at www.jewishlights.com.)
Hannah's Song of Prayer is a song of gratitude to Hashem for the birth of
her son Samuel, for whom she had fervently prayed. Samuel, you'll recall
heard G-d calling him three times in the night and went to the Temple
Kohen Eli, thinking it was he who had called him. Eli realized that G-d
was blessing the boy with a gift. Indeed, Samuel's ensuing prophesies do
come to pass.
Earlier in 1 Samuel, Hannah had prayed with great emotion in the
Temple to Hashem, for she was barren and longed for a child. Eli had
heard her tearful prayers and thought her drunk. When she finally
returns to the temple with young Samuel, she finds Eli and explains
her story. Then she prays this eloquent song, which is excerpted here:
Then Hannah prayed and said:
My heart exults in Hashem, my pride has been raised through Hashem;
my mouth is opened wide against my antagonists,
for I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is none as holy as Hashem, for there is none besides You,
and there is no Rock like our God.
Hashem impoverishes and makes rich, He humbles and He elevates.
He raises the needy from the dirt, from the trash heaps He lifts the destitute,
to seat (them) with nobles and to endow them with a seat of honor --
for Hashem's are the pillars of the earth, and upon them He set the world.
He guards the steps of his devout ones, but the wicked are stilled in darkness;
for not through strength does man prevail.
Hashem -- may those that contend with him be shattered,
let the heavens thunder against them
May Hashem judge to the ends of the earth;
may He give power to his king and raise the pride of his anointed one.
1 Samuel 2: 1-2, 7-10
The Stone Edition Tanach
Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
Editor's note: You may recognize similarities between Hannah's Song and Mary's
Magnificat. There are scholars who believe that the latter is based on the former.
Judith in the camp of Holofernes
Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves' voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.
by Luci Shaw
Courtesy of www.ctlibrary.com
The Annunciation (c.1608)
Christmas Eve Prayer
Apollo 8 space mission, 1968
Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love
in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of
our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray
with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set
forward the coming of the day of universal peace.