Yamim Noraim (High Holy Day Prayers)
These are prayers and stories for the Yamim Noraim, including brief descriptions and links to each. Here’s a focused list of prayers for Elul, another one of prayers for Rosh Hashana, a list of prayers for Yom Kippur and one more for Sukkot.
T’shuva (Repentance, Return)
Each of these three meditations begins with a prophetic voice, asking why we stay chained to our sorrows, then challenges us to see life as a sacred journey:
- For Healing the Spirit – Why do we waste our days in grief and despair when we have the power to make our lives holy?
- For Sharing Divine Gifts – Can we find the path of compassion, using our divine gifts in service to each other in the name of G-d?
- Regarding Old Wounds – Are you ready to take your most crushing losses and turn them into a deep well of strength and love?
Living in Holiness
These prayers and meditations examine journey of a living a life of holiness, focusing on attributes (like humility) and practices (listening for G-d’s voice, doing G-d’s will):
- For Grace – A meditation about living a life of grace by offering grace to others
- For Humility – For living a life of humility in service to G-d, ourselves and others
- To Do Your Will – To ask for the guidance to do G-d’s will in humility and love
- For Wonder and Awe – To put aside vain pursuits and to seek G-d as my Holy Shelter
- To Hear Your Voice – We yearn to hear G-d’s message. G-d’s voice is available to all who choose to listen
- The Path of Righteousness – The path of righteousness is paved with questions
- G-d’s Plan: An Introspection – A prayer/poem about surrendering to G-d’s will
- For Compassion – About seeing myself in all men and women, and showing compassion for others in service to G-d
- On Making a Mistake – Elevating a mistake into an act of wisdom, charity and love
- To Ask – On asking for G-d’s guidance and support to live a life of righteousness
Prayers about the holiness of time and the sanctity of this period in the Jewish calendar, from Elul through the end of Sukkot and Simchat Torah:
- Rhythms – A meditation about the contrasting rhythms of life, time moving in a straight line and holiness moving in circles
- The Season of Healing – The month of Elul and the Yamim Noraim are a season of healing our souls and our lives
- The Season of Return – The month of Elul and the Yamim Noraim are a season of return to G-d, repentance and t’shuva
- History – A celebration of the gifts of history and memory
For Creation and the New Year
Meditations for the New Year, which is also Yom Harat Olam, the birthday of the world:
- For the New Year – In thanks for the New Year, the flow of time and the gift of life
- Another Year: An Introspection – A reflection on the passage of time
- For Creation – A quick meditation on the beauty of creation
- About the Rainbow – A reflection on the glory of creation
Meditations on confession:
- Meditation Before the Yom Kippur Vidui – A meditation to prepare the heart and the mind for a thorough and honest confession
- Meditation After the Yom Kippur Vidui – A meditation on living differently as a result of an honest and heartfelt confession
Neilah (Yom Kippur Closing Service)
Prayers as the day ends and our hearts yearn:
- At the Gates – Standing at the gates of prayer, repentence and charity
- Meditation Before Neilah – What have I left to say to G-d?
Death and Mourning
For an annotated list of Memorial and Yizkor prayers, click here. Here are prayers about preparing for one’s own death:
- Near the End: A Meditation – A meditation on preparing for the journey of my own death with grace and dignity, awe and wonder
- Remember – A call back to our deepest sense of peace and well-being
- Things Break – As we face the flow of endings and beginnings, G-d’s love remains
- Gather Me – Comfort in the thought of being gathered to our people
Here are two short, short stories for the holidays:
- Cantor Cohen - A Yom Kippur story of a Chazzan preparing to lead his congregation in prayer, repentance and righteousness
- Motyl the Fool – A Simchat Torah story about a man who loves Torah, a man who feels the fire of G-d’s word
Please use these prayers. See “Share the Prayer!” in the right hand column.
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