Day 32: Netzach she’b’Hod, Lasting Splendor
TEXT: NISHMAT KOL CHAI, BREATH OF ALL LIFE
The breath of every living thing shall praise your name / O breath of life, our God / Were our mouth oceans of song / Our tongues alive with exultation like the waters’ waves / Our lips filled full of praises like the heaven’s dome / Our eyes lit up like sun and moon / Our hands spread out like eagle’s wings / Our feel as light as those of the gazelle / Still, we could never praise You enough /O breath of life, Our God.
(Nishmat Kol Chai, Shabbat morning prayer service, Siddur Kol Haneshama translation, adapted.)
“We could never praise You enough.” In Kabbalah, to “praise God” can mean to practice devekut. To attach our consciousness to the divine consciousness. To do the spiritual practices that help us catch a glimpse of cosmic consciousness—and help us receive it when it fills us.
Nishmat tells us that every creature is attached to God, channeling divine consciousness in a way that suits its own body. Ocean, sky, sun, moon, eagle, gazelle. If we could borrow all those bodies, be in all of them at the same time, feel and think as they do, channel the divine as they do—we would know God more deeply. But still, we would glimpse only a fragment of cosmic consciousness.
Hod, divine splendor, establishes itself in each creature—and in all of us at once. That’s how it endures—in ways we cannot fully know.
THINKING: In what way might you say that trees, birds, fungi, fish, mice—the great diversity of living beings—have souls? (Or soul?)
FEELING: When you pause to notice how alive the world is around you, how do you feel?
PRACTICE: What intentional practices do you use to stay in touch with other-than-human creatures around you?
GOD: Remember what it feels like to you to be in the presence of the divine. Is it a feeling of energy? Awe? Expanded consciousness? Humility? Then, think of a favourite other-than-human creature. Do you think it experiences the divine? If so, how?
Image: Photo of a neighbor by Laura Duhan-Kaplan