Gate Beth EmetStanding before the gates of heaven in prayer – yearning for them to stay open long enough for true repentance to be heard – is a classic High Holy Day metaphor. The inspiration for this prayer comes from Isaiah, the haftorah read on Shabbat Nitzavim. “Pass through, pass through the gates… Tell fair Zion: Your deliverance is coming!” This prayer envisions each of us briefly entering G-d’s holy realm to be restored. I wrote it at the request of my friend Rabbi Andrea London for the 5775 Beth Emet—The Free Synagogue congregational holiday card. I also took the photo used on the card, shown here. My other prayers using the metaphor of gates include: “At the Gates” and “The Entry to Our Hearts.”

Keep the gates open,
Holy One,
Keep them open a little longer,
So that my repentance and my yearning
May yet enter Your holy realm.

Keep the gates open,
Compassionate One,
So that our hearts may dwell,
To be refreshed in Your sacred space,
To be restored with justice and mercy,
To be nurtured and renewed with awe and wonder.

Rock of Israel,
Source and Shelter,
Keep the gates open,
So that when we leave this holy place
We remember and know
That wisdom and understanding surround us,
That peace and joy will yet follow,
That holiness and love will yet prevail.

© 2014 Alden Solovy, Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue and All rights reserved.

Postscript: This prayer was written in Israel during the 2014 Gaza war known as “Operation Protective Edge.” The last two lines of this prayer were strongly influenced by the war. I’m grateful to Rabbi London for this opportunity and for her suggestions. My other prayers using the metaphor of gates include: “At the Gates” and “The Entry to Our Hearts.” Here are links to prayers for Elulprayers for Rosh Hashanaprayers for Yom Kippur and prayers for Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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Photo Source: Alden Solovy

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