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Spiritual Almanac – Moses ibn Ezra: Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Jan 27, 2021

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Born around 1060, Moses ibn Ezra was a poet and philosopher educated in both Jewish and Arabic literature and theology. After Granada was invaded by Berber Muslim, he fled to Christian Spain, where he lived the rest of his life.

He’s remembered as one of Spain’s most highly regarded and prolific Hebrew poets, and much of his work centers on the relationship between God and humankind. For today’s inspiration, we’re taking a look at his poem titled, “At the Hour of Closing.”

 

AT THE HOUR OF CLOSING

By Moses ibn Ezra

  

Lord of wondrous workings,

grant us understanding—

now at the hour of closing.

A chosen few are called,

their eyes toward you lifting—

they stand exalted in their trembling

now, at the hour of closing.

They pour forth their souls;

erase, then, their straying—

and grant them, Lord, your absolution

now at the hour of closing.

Be a shelter for them

through all their suffering;

consign them only to rejoicing

now, at the hour of closing.

Show them your compassion,

in your justice turning

on all who brought oppression to them—

now at the hour of closing.

Recall their fathers’ merit

and count it as merit for them;

renew their days as once they were,

now, at the hour of closing.

Call for the year of grace—

the remnant flock’s returning

to Oholìbah and Oholàh—

now at the hour of closing.

More spiritual nuggets for today …

On this day in 1945, Russian soldiers liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp.

When they entered the camp, the soldiers were shocked by the condition of the remaining 5,000 or so prisoners. Red Army general, Vasily Petrenko, commander of the 107th Infantry Division, said, “I … was shocked by the Nazis’ indescribable hatred toward the inmates who had turned into living skeletons. I read about the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in various leaflets, but there was nothing about the Nazis’ treatment of women, children, and old men. It was in Auschwitz that I found out about the fate of the Jews.”  Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, was among those liberated at Auschwitz. But it was too late for the estimated 1.5 million people killed at the camp. 

Today marks the death of the journalist, Nellie Bly, in 1922. 

She was born Elizabeth Cochran and as a teenager wrote a passionate rebuttal to an article that appeared in the Pittsburgh Dispatch titled, “What Girls Are Good For.” The editor was so impressed by her writing that he hired her and gave her the pen name Nellie Bly after the title character in a song by Stephen Foster. But she struggled to land serious assignments because of her gender. So, she pretended to be mentally ill to gain access to the Blackwell’s Island insane asylum in New York and wrote a six-part expose on the brutal treatment of the mentally ill. It was later published in book form under the title, Ten Days in a Mad-House. Bly’s reporting made her the most famous journalist in the nation, giving her a platform to champion women’s rights and other social causes.

Today also marks the death of Thomas Crapper in 1910. 

If cleanliness is next to godliness, Crapper is a saint. Although it’s a myth that he invented the flush toilet, Crapper was evangelist for sanitary plumbing. He was the first to establish publish showrooms for the display of sanitary wares, and is largely responsible for popularizing the toilets and indoor plumbing. His company was sold in 1950, but some of Crapper’s toilets reportedly still exist around London if you know where to look.

Maybe we should all add Thomas Crapper on the list of things we’re thankful for today. And that’s today’s Spiritual Almanac.

Be kind, take good care and we’ll see you soon. 

“At the Hour of Closing” by Moses ibn Ezra. Public domain.

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