I place [sh’vi’ti] G-d before me always[1

“Sh’vi’ti …” is an essential, (but not the only) Hebrew text for meditation.

Much of its meaning depends on what G-d’s Name — “YKVK” — means to us.

For the BeShT, the founder of the Hasidic movement, “YKVK” referred to the process of Divine Emanation (Seder Hish’tal’sh’lut).

It thus meant to him: “I place before me always that everything is emanating, but never separated, from G-d.”

Based on that, the following meditation, intended for use with a class, group, or congregation, occurred to me:

Y” is the Sefer Torah: the Spiritual Essence from which everything emanates.

H” is the aron: the things which begin to make Spiritual Essence perceivable.

V” is the beit ha-k’nesset where the service is taking place, and the members of the congregation: the extension of Spiritual Essence into our lives.

H” is the entire universe, outside of the synagogue: the extension of Spiritual Essence into all that surrounds us.

Everything is included in — part of — this Name, which has its purest expression in Torah itself.

This meditation is intended to show the unity of all Creation — animate and inanimate objects included.

More, it’s intended to show the Unity of the Divine, as expressed in (but not limited to) the multiplicity and variety of Creation.

How to present this as a meditation, rather than simply as a metaphor (easily forgotten), would be up to the person presenting it.

It would probably involve some talking and discussion about the “Whole” and how the “parts” relate to it and to each other.

Philosophical quibbling or facile drashes by members should probably be avoided (not so easy, considering how bright many congregants are). Rather, let them get into the paradigm, and see what insights come up spontaneously.

Of course, if you see a way to use this with an individual rather than with a congregation, by all means do so.

Please feel free to let me know if you find this useful. Also, if you do use it, I request that you introduce it by saying that it’s a meditation “by (or learned from) Rabbi Eli Mallon, based on traditional sources.”


[1] Ps. 16:8