It’s spring, and I’m in the forest. The grasses are newly green and fresh with the last melting snow, I can smell the sun mixing with the pine needles underfoot, and the wet musk of the earth in the forest. I hear the birds, they are louder than I remembered, and beautiful after a quiet winter.
I love the intentional gender ambiguity in your blessing, Ben. Shechina as feminine, borei as masculine, the ruach animating everything as genderless or fully gender expressive. (In Hebrew, ruach sometimes conjugates as feminine and sometimes as masculine.)
I LOVE THIS! The intersection of Herbalism, Spirituality, and Judaism...! Awesome.
Couple of thoughts off the cuff:
1) Hebrew word for “smell” ReaCh is related to RuaCh word for spirit (and wind). So when we bleed the smell of a plant (besamim) it’s like we’re blessing it’s spirit. And also, that somehow smell serves as a vector for sensing into the spiritual essence of something?
2) Trufa - Medicine. From root R-F-A... Refuah=healing. I think of it in terms of
R= Resh->Rosh -> head/Beginning
F= Peh -> Mouth -> Opening
A= Alef -> symbol of totality/completion and of spirit/Godliness/Divinity (kind of like the yin Yang of the Hebrew alphabet)
So Refuah, aka Healing is a process of “Beginning to Open up to the Divine”.
In what ways to plants help us open up to the divine. In what ways do their scents/fragrance/spirits offer us connection to the divine.
Finally, there are references to BSM (bsamim) root referring to a form of intoxication or perhaps altering how we perceive reality. Just an interesting aside.
Thank you for your gifts of ideas and words and connections!
Thank you. This was gorgeous to read. I hope you will continue creating more content around these earth bound ways of Jewish prayer. Are there any resources (books, scholars, other sites?) you might be able to offer those of us who wish to deepen in understanding our ancestral ways of relating with and praising the earth?
MORE! Love this post so much, even if I’m finally reading it at the end of Iyyar. I am curious, since the framing of the blessing is in Femme G!d/dess language why you didn’t go with Tehi Ritzona instead of Yehi Ratzon. Is the “this” not femme?