hal·le·lu·jah (From the original definition found in American Heritage Dictionary) interj. Used to express praise or joy. n. 1. An exclamation of “hallelujah.” 2. Music. A composition expressing praise and based on the word “hallelujah.” [Hebrew halllû-yh, praise Yahweh : halllû, masculine pl. imperative of hilll, to praise; see hll in Semitic roots + yh, Yahweh]
Hallelujah (a little known verse in the lyrics) by Leonard CohenYou say I took the name in vain I don’t even know the name But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you? There’s a blaze of light in every word It doesn’t matter which you heard The holy or the broken Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah These days I walk the winter woods here at Five Apple Farm, also called (by me) Five Acre Farm. Dressed warmly, I love the openness of the land, the stream and bottomland, the rolling lawn leading to an uncut field. Most of all I love the wooded hill behind the house. It seems more blessing than any person should receive in one short life. Hallelujah, though, for its stewardship falling into such capable (Leigh’s) and appreciative hands. The fruits of my labor remain largely invisible to the naked eye, but I believe they are there. The job I feel most comfortable with, and indeed most competent at, is simply loving the land where I stand. The bible says to “pray without ceasing,” but my interpretation is to “praise without ceasing.” I touch the trunks of trees older and wiser than me, and tell them I love them; that I will do all in my power to protect them. Sometimes, I lift up my voice and sing to the woods, the flowing branch, the vast blueness of sky, the sun, these mountains that cradle me. I walk. I write poems and make up songs. Hallelujah. Within each of us is a hallelujah waiting to be expressed. We find it in whatever our passion, our creative expression may be. Whether it is spoken, sung, or silent–if we are true to our very individual, original, authentic hallelujahs, we do our part to heal our world. Indeed, we will be less than perfect. As Cohen says, and as I can see myself on this winter day with the rhododendron leaves frozen into green fingers, an icy wind shooting the valley, tree branches bare and splintery, what we have to give are often “cold and broken hallelujahs.” This is all the more reason to express them. Practice. Praise without ceasing. Despite our despair at the depletion of a planet which continues to give of herself, there is always beauty to be praised. Something hears us. It’s organic to be creative and creation is organic. This I believe. There is no sorrow that will leave us more bereft: to ignore the hallelujah within us. In our own re-creation of the universe, we reach out our hands, raise our voices and try to make the broken whole again.