Sunrise, Sde Boker, Israel, 2003
Sunrise, Sde Boker, Israel, 2003Click to Enlarge
The people in this photograph are reciting morning prayers in the heart of the Negev Desert, just outside a kibbutz called Sde Boker. Sde Boker is where Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, chose to retire. His vision and hope was that Israelis would move to the Negev and make the barren land flourish. Over the years, Israel has built cities, towns, and kibbutzim in the desert, helping to fulfill Ben-Gurion’s dream. Why do you think the people in the picture chose this setting for their prayers?
רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִתְפִילָּה; וּכְשֶׁאַתָּה מִתְפַּלֵל, אַל תַּעַשׂ תְּפִילָּתְךָ קֶבַע— אֶלָּא רַחֲמִים וְתַחֲנוּנִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם.
Rabbi Shimon said, “Be careful, when reciting the Shema and Amidah. And when you pray, do not make your prayer rigid, but rather compassionate and pleading before God.”
– Pirkei Avot 2:18
אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר, וְנִזְכֶּה כוּלָּנוּ מְהֵרָה לְאוֹרוֹ.
May a new light shine on Zion, and may we all be privileged soon to behold its splendor.
– from shacharit (the morning service)
זֶה אֵלִי וְאַנְוֵהוּ,
אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי וַאֲרמְֹמֶנְהוּ.
This is my God and I will beautify Him;
The God of my father, and I will exalt Him.
– Exodus (Shemot) 15:2