Meditation on a Stone

This meditation may be performed as a way of perceiving the Divine within the physical universe or simply as a way of appreciating nature. In Jewish mystical tradition, stones are referred to as “domemim” or “silent beings” and are manifestations of the world of the earth, which is the world of the Shekhinah. Stones have wisdom to teach us. They represent eternal knowing and remembering: the high priest wore twelve stones on a breastplate to remind the Holy One of the twelve tribes, and we place stones on a gravesite in memory of the deceased. The unhewn stones of the altar in the Temple were a resting-place for the Divine Presence, and in Genesis the Holy One is referred to as Even Yisrael, the stone of Israel. Jacob, by lying with his head on a stone, dreamed of the gateway to heaven. Humans have a special bond with stones, for it is written in the book of Job: “Your covenant shall be with the stones of the field.”

Note that in Jewish tradition HaMakom, “the place,” is a name for the Divine.


Choose a stone that is either particularly beautiful or particularly unusual in your eyes, or a stone that represents a time or place you love. Sit comfortably in front of it, either inside or outside. You may want to have a small jar of water or oil with you. Begin with a wordless tune, a prayer to the Divine, a meditation on the four worlds and/or the four elements, or any opening ritual you wish to conduct in order to make you mindful of the Presence of Being. As you begin, feel in your body that you and the stone are both resting on the same earth.

Say or chant:


Hineh ani mashlim et divrei Yaakov: vayikach mei’avnei hamakom.


Hineh ani mashlim et divrei Yaakov: vayikach mei’avnei hamakom.

“Behold, I fulfill the words of Jacob, who ‘took from the stones of the Place.’”


Pick up the stone you have chosen, or walk around it in a circle if it cannot be picked up, and observe its physical qualities. Try to observe as closely as possible, using eyes and hands. Make a note of any feelings that arise, but keep the stone at the center of your attention.

Now sit in front of the stone, preferably so that the stone is to the west of you. (In mystical tradition west is the direction of the world of the earth.) Close your eyes and meditate on the stone without looking. Feel the silence and the great age of the stone. Imagine that you are also a stone, with a stone’s silence. What wisdom do you learn from being a stone? Stay a stone as long as you wish (making sure not to cramp your body).

Without opening your eyes, imagine the stone is before you. Ask this stone, this domem or silent being, to give you a teaching or vision you need. What does the stone tell you? Does it speak or express itself some other way? If you feel it is proper, ask the stone to give you a gift or a blessing. Then say farewell to the stone and offer it your thanks.


When you open your eyes, offer a blessing to the stone. You can do this by saying words, by singing wordlessly, or by washing the stone with water or anointing it with oil (Jacob anointed a stone with oil to make it sacred). Have in your intention that the stone is a part of the holiness of all being.

Finish your ritual with a drumbeat or wordless song, words of farewell to the four directions, or a prayer to Even Yisrael, the Stone of Israel,
such as:

Rock of Israel, birthstone of the universe, you who dwell in the pebbles of the earth and in the furnace of the stars where stone is made, put in my heart the strength, persistence, and humility of stones. In the world of earth, the world of air, the world of water, the world of fire, in all the worlds I say amen.

If you wish, place the stone in a designated spot in your house as a reminder of what you have learned, or come back to visit it in its natural setting when you need new wisdom.

Rabbi Jill Hammer is the founder of Tel Shemesh and the author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women.

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