יְשֻׂשׂ֥וּם מִדְבָּ֖ר וְצִיָּ֑ה וְתָגֵ֧ל עֲרָבָ֛ה וְתִפְרַ֖ח כַּחֲבַצָּֽלֶת

The wilderness and the parched land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.

Isaiah 35:1

 

There is an old custom to conclude the Amidah (standing prayer) by whispering a biblical verse that begins and end with the first and last letter of your own Hebrew name. An alternative is to say a verse that has your Hebrew name in it. There is a mystical tradition that memorizing this verse will help one’s soul remember its identity in the afterlife. On a more prosaic level, it feels to me like signing my name at the end of the prayer.

You can find lists of such verses in some traditional Siddurim (prayerbooks) such as Artscroll and also online on this site, which requires a knowledge of Hebrew. You choose the first letter of the name and then it takes you to a page with biblical verses that begin with that letter you chose and end with other letters (if you don’t know Hebrew you will have to get someone to assist you).

Isaiah 35:1, above, is the verse for my first name, Yehudit. Its prophecy of the desert blooming became ingrained in the dream of modern Israel. I relate to the verse a spiritual sense, that the dry and empty places in our lives have the potential to bloom.

 

Featured Image: Desert wildflowers in bloom, Northern Cape of South Africa, Martin Heigan, via Flickr

Watch a video about a Desert Oasis, or return to the Gateway of Wilderness.

 

 

 

 

Follow Wellsprings in Social Media