Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

On Making a Mistake

every-mistake-you-make-is-progressLike the Jewish prayers said upon eating bread or lighting Sabbath candles, this is to be said upon making a mistake. This isn’t just about forgiveness. It’s about finding the holiness, the healing and the beauty in the moments after making a mistake. It’s about elevating a mistake into an act of wisdom, charity and love. This prayer can be used as a meditation during the Hebrew month of Elul. To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

On Making a Mistake
G-d of realms above and realms below,
Of justice and mercy,
Grant me the understanding that my mistakes
Are teachers and guides,
Pointing me in the direction of my best self,
Leading me toward a path of righteousness,
A path of charity,
A path of love.

Redeemer of Israel,
Bless my mistakes with the power to teach.
Remove the potential for harm.
Give me the strength and wisdom to amend my ways,
To seek forgiveness and live by my ideals
Guided by Your word.

Blessed are You, who reveals the path of righteousness.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “On Making a Mistake”

  1. Irwin Keller

    Lovely. I like this one a lot, Alden. (If I were someone who made mistakes, I’d be sure to use this. Oh well.)

    • tobendlight

      Thanks, Irwin. There’s a lot packed into this short prayer. (I am, however, someone who needs this prayer pretty much daily.)

  2. tobendlight

    Here’s a teaching from my friend Michael Slater, which he posted on my Facebook page in the name of his brother, Rabbi Jonathan Slater. I’ve reposted it here with minor edits, and with Michael’s permission:

    This reminds me of a chasidic understanding of the line “Shiviti Adonai l’negdi tamid” which I learned from my brother Rabbi Jonathan Slater. The traditional understanding of the phrase is “I place Adonai before me always.” The play on words is that “Shiviti” sounds like the word “shaveh,” which implies a comparison. That which is “neged” or “l’negdi” is in opposition to me as much as it means opposite or in front of me. So, whatever is in opposition to or hindering me is likened to Adonai. God is there in the stumbling blocks as much as in the successes of life.


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