This prayer is the result of spending nearly two months studying the High Holidays machzor in preparation for teaching my “Mysteries of the Machzor” series. I’ve added references to the texts quoted from Leviticus, Numbers, and Jeremiah. I didn’t select the obvious source text for the second stanza, Exodus 19:6, because the verse from Leviticus adds another layer of meaning.

When the children of Israel
Assemble before You
In holy convocation,
We assert the covenant,
The promises You made
To our ancestors.
We claim the right
To forgiveness.
.וַיֹּאמֶר ה’, סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶךָ
Vayomer Adonai, selachti kidvarecha.
And Adonai said, ‘I forgive, as you have asked.’ (Num. 14:20)

When the children of Israel
Assemble before each other
In holy convocation,
We assert our kinship,
The solidarity we have
With our heritage.
We claim the responsibility
To be a nation of priests.
.וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ
V’amarta aleihem, kedoshim tihyu.
Say to them, you shall be holy. (Lev. 19:2)

When God’s love
And God’s mercy
Join our holy convocation,
In breaths,
In whispers
And in blasts of the shofar,
Holiness and forgiveness,
Repentance and love,
Become One.

:’כִּי כֹה אָמַר ה
.וִהְיִיתֶם לִי לְעָם, וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים
Ki koh amar Adonnai:
V’hayitem li l’am, v’Anochi Ehyeh lechem laylohim.
For Adonai says:
And you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Jer. 30:12,22)

© 2020 Alden Solovy and

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