Seeing Palaces by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas

Achat sha’alti mei’eit Adonai, otah avakeish
One thing I ask of Adonai, one request –

Shivti b’veit Adonai kol y’mei chayai, lachazot b’noam Adonai ul’vakeir b’heichalo
That I may dwell Adonai’s house all of the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of Adonai and visit God’s palace.

Psalm 27 is dedicated to the month of Elul, the tide of which we now ride inextricably toward the Days of Awe. These particular verses are the undercurrent of that wave, the music and the words and the ideas churning around under the depths. One thing I ask. One thing I request. Let me dwell. Let me behold. Let me visit Your palace.

Take some time and listen to this magnificent instrumental setting.

When we pray these words of Psalm 27, we ask that we may have the privilege of visiting God’s palace each day of our life. The imagery implies a type of transcendence that can be woefully lost to us as we scramble from one thing to the next, walking sightless among miracles. All the more so during Elul, should we allow the brilliance of all of Creation to illumine our paths.

There are many ways to do this, not the least of which is seek to find Connection in our coffee, or in the cadence of our run. Take some time outdoors. Take a few moments be with something that you behold as beautiful and let it restore some of the cracked places within you. A piece of art. A poem. A novel that causes you to feel a raw connection with humanity – where palaces are built out of paragraphs.

Take some time to listen to the music that feeds your soul. What is the music that helps you remove the clutter and chaos of the every day? What is the music that helps your to feel the palace of your soul?

For me, this choral setting of Yigdal Elohim Chai, led by Cantor Simon Spiro, creates a profound sense of stillness and from that stillness does majesty emerge.

Read this selection from the translation of Yigdal offered in our prayer book, Mishkan T’filah, while you listen:

Magnified and praised be the living God; God’s existence is Eternal. God’s unity is infinite; God is unfathomable; and God’s Oneness in unending.

God has neither form nor body; God is incorporeal; God’s holiness is beyond compare. God preceded all creation; God is the first and uncreated.

God has implanted eternal life within us. Blessed is God’s glorious Name to all eternity.

(Mishkan Tefilah, pg 629)

The palace of the Divine is all around us. May we take the time to see and dwell there each and every day of our lives.