At the Gates

800px-Sunset_2This prayer is about standing at the gates of heaven in prayer. It alludes to the Un’taneh Tokef which asserts that t’shuva (repentance), t’fillah (prayer) and tzdakah (charity) are key to a full reconciliation with G-d, with oneself and with the world. It was inspired by a song written by my cousin Irwin Keller for Neilah called, “At the Closing of the Gates.” This prayer is the result of listening to his song, with a few changes recommended by Irwin. To listen to his song, click on the triangle in the first bar, below. “At the Closing of the Gates,” by Irwin Keller:


To listen to the words of the prayer while reading, click on the triangle in the second bar. The text follows. “At the Gates,” by Alden Solovy:


At the Gates
At the gates of repentance
You will be asked:
Are you ready to enter?
Are you ready to live a life of t’shuva?

The gates of repentance
Surround my heart.
Unlock my fear,
G-d of Old,
So I may enter
The well of love
With wonder and awe.

At the gates of charity
You will be asked:
Are you ready to enter?
Are you ready to live a life of tzdakah?

The gates of charity
Surround my deeds.
Unlock my fortitude,
Source and Shelter,
So I may enter
The well of healing
With righteousness and strength.

At the gates of devotion
You will be asked:
Are you ready to enter?
Are you ready to live a life of t’fillah?

The gates of devotion
Surround my spirit.
Unlock my faith,
Rock of Israel,
So I may enter
The well of mystery
With prayer and rejoicing.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim. 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. And here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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