“The main time King David secluded himself with God was at night, under his covers in bed. Hidden from the sight of all others, he would pour his heart out before God. This is the meaning of the verse; ‘I speak every night on my bed in tears’ (Tehillim: 6:7).” –Rebbe Nahman of Breslov
Borei Hoshech is a new blog that aims to explore the intersection of Jewish liturgy and depression, mental illness, and hard emotions.
It’s just getting started, but there’s some lovely stuff up there already, and has the potential to be a valuable resource in a number of different ways. The first post sets up the framework quite nicely:
…Since I was very young, [prayer] served as a safe space—for a time, the only safe space—in which to feel a full range of emotions, from the most terrifying to the most deeply comforting. Prayer was where I could let down my guard; let down my walls; let down my iron-clad boundaries; open my Pandora’s box of sadness, yearning, and tears. Prayer is where I was able to be alone with God and free from the insistent voices of family, society, school, and work. Prayer was where I could stop and listen to myself–to my wants and needs, but also to my feelings of gratitude and thanksgiving. Prayer was where I could focus. Prayer was a place where I could go when I couldn’t focus.
Through this blog, I hope to learn more about what the use of tefillah [prayer] as a staging ground for experiencing emotions and for working out the primal relationship with God has meant and means to me and to classical Jewish commentaries on the siddur [prayer book].
I also expect to learn a tremendous amount from the experiences and reflections of future commenters and collaborators about how they experience the intersection between their religious and inner emotional lives. I expect to hear similarities to my experience, but also hope to hear of very different experiences.
The blog is here, and it welcomes submissions–contact info can be found on the website.