Modern Jewish Liturgy Related to Depression and Sadness

2 07 2016

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve written. I did not intend to go this long, but I haven’t had the energy to write the post(s) that I want to write, since I last posted in August 2014.

In the meantime, two recommended pieces by others:

  1. Alden Solovy, a Jewish liturgist, wrote “a prayer to be said by someone with depression” and other mental afflictions. I thought some of you might like it.

    Reading the post and prayer made me sad. I had met this author and heard the “neat” story he told of his wife’s death from falling down some stairs and hitting her head, so finding out how much she (and her family) suffered makes me sad.

    I could also relate to what he shared of her story, as someone who suffered through trauma and verbal abuse/emotional neglect as a child, and who often tries to escape through staying in bed and watching TV and eating ice cream. But for the grace of God go I–I think of that whenever I encounter the tales of those who suffered more than I did and who cope using drugs or alcohol. It feels wrong to feel grateful for the limitations of my affliction, but I do feel grateful. Grateful that I’m addicted to food and escapism and hiding from the world, and not drugs or alcohol.

    He also wrote a prayer to be said on behalf of a family member or friend facing mental illness.

  2. Trisha Arlin, another Jewish liturgist, wrote “Blessings For The Sad.” Amazing.

And, finally, a quote from Saul Bellow (from Augie March) that I adore:

…all the while you thought you were going around idle terribly hard work was taking place. Hard, hard work, excavation and digging, mining, moling through tunnels, heaving, pushing, moving rock, working, working, working, working, working, panting, hauling, hoisting. And none of this work is seen from the outside. It’s internally done. It happens because you are powerless and unable to get anywhere, to obtain justice or have requital, and therefore in yourself you labor, you wage and combat, settle scores, remember insults, fight, reply, deny, blab, denounce, triumph, outwit, overcome, vindicate, cry, persist, absolve, die and rise again. All by yourself! Where is everybody? Inside your breast and skin, the entire cast.