Kavanot of Kumi Ori

KumiOricoverthumbThe word “Kavanot” is Hebrew for intentions. Each chant contained on this CD can be thought of as a meditation, where the focus of the meditation is a specific intention, or kavannah. As you chant along with this CD, it is my hope that you can allow your soul to deeply experience these intentions.

Kumi Ori – Arise and Shine

1. Kumi ori ki va oraych

Arise and shine for your light has come (Isaiah 60:1).

This chant is an invitation to allow all of the beauty that lives within us to shine forth into the world, to recognize the unique creation that we are and to walk fearlessly and wholly in our truth.

2. V’holachti Ivrim

I will lead the blind on a path they did not know (Isaiah 42:16).

This chant begins with an acknowledgement that we can become “blinded”, unable to see the best direction for our lives. Sometimes I am so immersed in the day to day happenings, that I lose my ability to step back and see which way I am heading, and whether it is really my soul’s path. And so, with this chant, I welcome God’s guidance to help me have a fresh perspective.

3. Elohai Neshama

My God, the soul You have given me, she is pure. You create her, You form her, and You breathe her into me.

With this chant, we connect to our innocence, to our pure, uncorrupted soul. We remember that underneath the person that we have grown to become lies our original innocent self, and we open up to what she has to teach us.

4. Im t’dabernah s’fatai avlah

My lips will not speak unrighteousness, nor will my tongue utter deceit (Job 27:4).

The words that we say create a vibration in the universe. We can choose to use that gift of speech to send positive light into the world, or to cause harm through gossip or unkindness. One of the greatest challenges in life is staying aware of the divine spark that lives in every part of creation, including those people who are challenging to love. This chant sets the intention to be able to see that spark and to make the connection between that vision and the words that come out of our mouths.

5. Vatimalay ha’aretz et Hamayim

And the land was filled with water (2 Kings 3:20).

Ritual immersion is an ancient part of Jewish tradition, and serves as spiritual cleansing in preparation for a significant event. This chant can be used as part of a water encounter, or to symbolically prepare ourselves, in joy, for change or transformation.

6. Paris Dreams

This piano meditation carries an intention of deep grounding.

7. Adonai Lanu Ufarinu Va’aretz

This duet is a journey, beginning with a feeling of being trapped in the place where we currently live, with a world that has become increasingly small. By opening our eyes and noticing the vastness and blessing of God’s Creation, we are rescued. We are reminded to look for God wherever we are.

a. God has given us ample space to increase in the land (Genesis 26:22)

b. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life (Psalm 56:14)

c. Surely God is in this place, and I did not know it (Genesis 28:16)

8. Hin’ni ma’alaylah arucha umarfay

Behold, I bring healing and cure (Jeremiah 33:6).

Whether or not our life’s work is formally a role of “healer” of other beings, we each have a powerful ability to bring healing into the world. With this chant, I step boldly into my role as healer.

9. Yih’yu l’ratzon imrayfee v’hegyon libi l’fanecha

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You (Psalm 19:15).

As a preparation for prayer or meditation, we speak directly to God, and set the intention to speak and live with a holy purpose.

10. Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh

Holy, holy, holy.

We can think of an intention of holiness as our commitment to live our lives in service of the Oneness of creation. This can manifest itself in compassion, in kindness, in walking our path in a way that honors the earth and all living things. In the Amidah, the section of the service where these words are sung, it is common practice to step on your tip-toes 3 times, in an attempt to physically get closer to God.

11. Tzarot l’vavee hirchivu

The troubles of my heart are enlarged; O God, bring me out of my distress (Psalm 25:17).

Psalm 25 provides us with a vehicle for asking for help. It is essential at times to realize that we are in over our head, that the troubles that we are experiencing are ones that are debilitating, and cannot be overcome without God’s intervention. In the first part of the chant, we notice our condition, and allow ourselves to feel the pain. In the second part of the chant, we reach out for help.

12. God, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.

This beautiful prayer of St. Francis of Assisi sets the intention of placing ourselves as workers for peace, and sets out to define that role in detail. We can use this prayer to remind us of the power that each of us has to be an agent of powerful change in the world, and to inspire us to action.

13. B’shuvah vanachat teevashayun

You will triumph through returning and stillness (Isaiah 30:15).

The concept of “Teshuvah” represents a return to God, to living on our divine path. But when we return, we sometimes are thrown back into the chaos of our life, where we can be easily distracted and thrown off course. The wisdom of this chant phrase is bringing together the stillness with the return, to allow ourselves a chance to breathe, to soak in and remember where we’ve been, and use that perspective to help carry us forward.

14. Im Tashuv

If you turn back, I will take you back; and you will stand face to face with Me (Jeremiah 15:19).

This chant carries with it the responsibility and reward of Teshuvah, or return. We must take the first step of returning to God, by realizing that we have stepped off of our sacred path, and that we have the desire to step back onto it. If we take this step, we are assured that God will be there to take us back. And the reward is huge and intimate – standing face to face with our Creator.

15. Mibetehn sheol shivati shamata koli

From the depths of sheol, I called to You. You heard my voice! (Jonah 2:2).

With this chant we celebrate the impermanence of darkness and depression. We can emerge from the depths, a whole person, changed but not permanently damaged by our experiences.

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