Tree of Life

Tree of Life

A Word About Our Name, HaShem’s House and our symbol

On the door of the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) housing HaShem’s House’s Torah, is a picture of a large tree spreading its roots and its branches. We have chosen this symbol, as a metaphor for our ministry. The tree represents life, life sustaining and life-supporting endeavors. The tree was wood-burned into the door of the Aron Kodesh by Cynthia Portera, Vice-Principal of Bloomfield Technical School, Bloomfield, NJ. She worked in conjunction with the students of the carpentry shop at N. 13th Street School in Newark, NJ, who completed the carpentry work on the cabinet. We will forever be grateful to these wonderful teachers and students who gifted us the beautiful cabinet for our Torah.

A dear friend of ours, Dr. Joe Rosenstein of Rutgers University, and the Highland Park Minyon of Highland Park, NJ, has recently published a new prayer book: Siddur Eit Ratzon, which will become the siddur-of-choice at HaShem’s House. We include here, his comments about G-d’s House, vBeit HaShem, which he wrote as a meditation.  We invite you to use his meditation as you wish and also to visit Dr. Rosenstein’s Siddur website.

From the Prayer Book:

The service may include this guided meditation on the final verses of Psalm 92. The leader may read the indicated paragraphs in the right column as an introduction to the meditation, then read the text below, slowly, with 3-5 second pauses at the ellipses (…), and close with [a chant of their choice.]

Close your eyes…Take a deep breath…and another…breathing in…and breathing out…[repeat].

Picture a tree that is tall and strong…
a tree with deep roots…
When the wind blows…the tree will bend and sway…
But it will stand firm…
For its roots are deep

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

Now picture a tree that bears fruit
And follow it through its yearly cycle…
It appears barren in the winter…
Blossoms in the spring…
Bears fruit in the summer and fall…
And then returns to a wintry state…
It may have no fruit at the moment
But its fruitfulness soon will be evident again.

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

Picture a tree that combines all of these qualities…
Tall…strong…fruitful…
And now imagine that you are that tree
Tall…strong…fruitful…
The winds of life may storm all around you…
But you are unshaken…
For your roots are firmly planted…

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

There will be bleak times…’but the winter will pass…
And give way to joy and fruitfulness…
For, like a tree…
You are planted in G-d’s garden…
And the Gardener will tend to you…
Providing sunshine and soil…
Water and nutrients…
And you will flourish…because you are…
B’veit  Adonai…in the house of Adonai.

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

Each of us can choose to live in G-d’s house…
Can pack our bags and move in…
And G-d will accept us at any time…
We need not be alone in our struggles…
We not suffer quietly out in the cold…
We can find safety and security in G-d’s house…
G-d’s house is our home…
And the door is always open…

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

The tzaddik – the righteous person-
Is the one who is planted in G-d’s garden.
Who accepts G-d’s protection and love?
Each of us can choose to live in G-d’s house…
To be a beautiful tree in G-d’s garden…
To dwell in the house of Adonai forever…

Breathing in…breathing out…[repeat].

(from p.28, Siddur Eit Ratzon, “Meditation: Living in G-d’s House.”)