…oseh maaseih v’reishit.

On Monday night, I sat with a friend on a balcony overlooking the ocean. It was one of those scenes that should begin with “It was a dark and stormy night…” So dark that we couldn’t see the moon or the clouds or even the ocean. 

We could see the lights. Not just the flashing, rotating light of the nearby lighthouse; we sat back in our chairs and were the audience to the greatest light show of all: a lightning storm. 

The flashes behind the clouds lit up the sky and the water, coming from various directions and with unpredictable timing. But it was the jagged lines of white light that really caught our attention. Every time we were getting ready to go back inside, my friend would say, “Hey God, how about one more?” Invariably, God would scribble a signature across the sky, or spread vein-like tendrils -about 10 of them – in the right corner of our view. 

Finally, we went inside. I looked up the prayer for lightning and we said it together, twice: 

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, oseh maaseih v’reishit.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Source of creation and its wonders. 

Every gasp had been a prayer. Every “wow” had been a prayer. Every time we looked at each other in wonderment, that was a prayer too. Combined with the traditional blessing for lightning and our gratitude for the awesomeness of the moment felt complete.