“Here I Seek You, A Collection of Poems for Shabbat, Holy Days, and Everydays“ is the third book of poetry published by Henry Rasof, a resident of Louisville, Colorado and a member of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder.
With degrees in music, creative writing, and Jewish Studies, an MA from Gratz College in Pennsylvania, Henry’s work has appeared in a number of Jewish and other journals and publications. His strong interest in medieval Spanish Jewish culture and poets led him to travel to Spain where the early great medieval Spanish poets first flourished.
The poems in this latest works are piyyutim, liturgical poems interspersed for special places within the prayer service, to accompany the main prayers and are often utilizing rhythmic and melodic schemes. They are meant to be thought provoking, shedding light, yotser, on such prayers as the Shema, the main Jewish affirmation of faith.
Such familiar poems as Adon Olam, Yigdal, L’kha Dodi, are often chanted or sung and add great depth and sense of community to the service. They often connect the congregant to ideas such as the creation and the wonders of nature through the creator that is found in the simplest blessings over food and at the start of the Sabbath and other holidays, acknowledging the separation from the ordinary world.
The poems in this book are this vein, broadening and acknowledging our expanding knowledge of the wonders of nature and the universe and awareness of the commonality of all religious traditions in this respect. I found as I read these poems aloud, I could vary the melodic scheme for my own enrichment as we in our communal services bring a variety of ways of chanting the piyyutim over time.
This beautiful collection of poems can be used to supplement a service or can be used at home for spiritual enrichment and guidance
The author raises challenging questions that help the reader explore his beliefs, doubts and questions regarding his relationship with God and his values. He challenges the reader to consider the mysteries of creation and the challenges of life. He shares his love of nature and references natural phenomenon, heightened by his experience of living in Colorado. He asks tough questions searching for personal answers.
I recommend this book to those seeking similar goals or just wanting to connect in a different way .