Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

 

Sin Offering

Posted on: September 28th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This short confessional prayer is meant for personal use, either in communal or private prayer. My other High Holiday prayers can be found here. Here’s a link to my essay of the same name on the strangest, most perplexing confessional prayer of all.

Sin Offering
I stand before You this day
G-d of Old,
To offer my sins
As tribute to my humanity,
To offer my repentance
As tribute to my holiness.
Teach me to cast off these sins,
To make space for Your radiance and light,
To make space for my humanity and this holiness
To meet in the core of my being,
So that my soul may shine brighter.
So that the works of my hands
Will praise Your creation.
So that my life will be a blessing
In heaven and on earth.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Read my essay entitled “Sin Offering” here. My other High Holiday prayers can be found here.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Who, Still Broken

Posted on: October 9th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

img_0711One of the ways my wife Ami z”l attempted her own life was with gasoline. She poured gas onto a grassy midway, ignited it and stepped into the fire. Thankfully, when her clothing caught fire, she dropped and rolled. In the decade since, I’ve struggled with the High Holiday prayer Un’taneh Tokef; in particular, the famous couplet: “Who by fire. Who by water.” Today, after an angry sea pulled back from Haiti, more than 800 are dead. Today, a boy lays in an induced coma after he was set on fire. Today, I wrote this meditation. It includes direct and indirect references to the Un’taneh Tokef, as well as allusions to the Kedusha and to the tradition of prostration during a special Alienu added for the High Holidays. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Who, Still Broken
Who by fire,
Screaming with seared flesh?
Who by water,
Gasping for one more breath?

Rock of Life,
Tell me that these are not
Your tools of justice.
Tell me that these are not
Your verdicts or Your punishments.
How do You bear the cries
Of Your children?
The starving,
The battered,
Buried in rubble
Or washed to sea?

No, this is not my God.
Neither Judge nor Witness,
Prosecutor nor Executioner,
Issuing severe decrees
In a kangaroo court
Of intimidations
And forced confessions.

.כִּי כְּשִׁמְךָ כֵּן תְּהִלָתֶֽךָ
Ki k’Shimcha cain t’hilatecha.
For according to Your name,
So is Your praise.
Your name is Righteousness. Forgiveness. Love.
Your names are Mother, Father and Teacher.
Your names are Source and Shelter.

.קָשֶׁה לִכְעֹס וְנֽוֹחַ לִרְצוֹת
Kasheh lichos v’noach lirtzot.
You are slow to anger
And ready to forgive.
But I,
I am slow to change,
Slow to amend my ways.
I can be consumed by the fire
Of my own anger.
I can drown in the sea
Of my own sorrow.
I need Your guidance,
Your gentle hand.

.וְאַתָּה הוּא מֶלֶֽךְ, אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם
V’atah hu Melech El Chai v’kayam!
For You are forever our Living G-d and Sovereign!

Yes, I will fall to my knees
Before You.
For you are Holy,
Your Majesty fills the universe.
My origin is dust
And I will return to dust.
Until then,
God of Mercy,
תְּשׁוּבָה, תְּפִילָּה, וּצְדָקָה
T’shuva, tefillah u’tzdakah —
Repentance, prayer and righteousness —
Will allow me to rise,
To stand before You
Human,
Humble,
Fallible,
Still broken,
And still whole.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: This meditation reflects a certain anger, redemptive by asserting a gentler conception of G-d, as well as G-d’s justice, mercy and redemption. See also “Cry No More” and “At the Gates.” Please consider donating to support my daughter Dana’s participation in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Greater Los Angeles Walk to raise funds aimed at reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Entry to Our Hearts

Posted on: September 14th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

SONY DSCFor the one crushed by sorrow, hope can be a prayer, a prayer of repentance, a prayer for healing. This is a High Holiday prayer for hope and healing – a kind of repentance – for someone deep in loss and despair. At first, it twists the classic metaphor of approaching the gates of repentance, the way grief distorts the way we see the world. Then it softens to a simple question: “What shall we say before You, G-d Old?” Here’s another prayer that uses the same metaphor, called “At the Gates.”

The Entry to Our Hearts
Who mourns at the gates of righteousness
And dances at the gates of desolation?
Who laughs at the gates of judgment,
And cries at the gates of peace?
Who sings at the gates of misfortune,
And howls at the gates of blessing?
Who shouts at the gates of mercy,
Standing mute at the gates of penance?

Ancient One,
Source and Shelter,
We stand at the gates,
At the entry to our hearts,
At the passage to mystery,
At the crossroad of uncertainty.
What shall we say before You,
G-d of Old,
In this sorrow and this despair?
Let these prayers be for healing.
Let these prayers be for life.

Blessed are You,
G-d of Mercy,
You lead us from darkness to light,
From mourning to rejoicing,
From repentance to service,
So we may build our lives, anew.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s another prayer that uses the same metaphor, called “At the Gates.” This “Meditation before Neilah” does not mention the word ‘gates,’ but it uses the urgency of standing before the gates to create the internal emotion. 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. Please take a look at my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Repentance Inside

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

582746main_sunrise_from_iss-4x3_428-321What does it take to internalize a deep sense of repentance, so that real change is possible? What will it take to be the man G-d envisioned when making me? This is from a series about internalizing G-d’s gifts, including “Egypt Inside” and “Forgiveness Inside.” This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Repentance Inside
This I confess:
I have taken my transgressions with me,
Carrying them year-by-year into my hours and days,
My lapses of conscience
And indiscretion with words,
My petty judgments
And my vanity,
Clinging to grief and fear, anger and shame,
Clinging to excuses and to old habits.
I’ve felt the light of heaven,
Signs and wonders in my own life,
And still will not surrender to holiness and light.

G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand
Repentance in prayer is easy.
Repentance inside,
Leaving my faults and offenses behind,
Is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live today as I lived yesterday,
Or to set my life free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.

G-d of forgiveness, help me to leave my transgressions behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.

Blessed are You,
G-d of justice and mercy,
You set Your people on the road to t’shuva.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: Here are focused lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Forgiveness Inside

Posted on: August 18th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

forgiveness2Seeking forgiveness from G-d is relatively easy. Forgiving myself for my misdeeds requires an act of bravery. It’s so much easier to make amends to others, to attempt to make changes in myself and to work to become a different man than it is to let go of guilt and shame. Accepting forgiveness from myself, that’s a real challenge. This is a prayer to release ourselves from the burden of guilt. It is part of my series of prayers to internalize G-d’s gifts, including “Egypt Inside” and “Repentance Inside.”

Forgiveness Inside
This I confess to myself:
I have locked forgiveness away,
Hiding its wonder and grace
In a secret spot deep in my heart.
I have set myself up as judge and accuser,
As provocateur and jury,
Regarding my own words and deeds,
My wisdom and my truth,
With loathing and with distain.
I have known forgiveness from G-d,
But not from myself.

G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand
Seeking forgiveness is easy.
Accepting forgiveness is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live a life of condemnation,
Or to set my heart free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.

G-d of Mercy, help me to leave my judgments behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.

Blessed are You,
G-d of Righteousness,
In Your wisdom You have taught us
That forgiveness is the road to peace.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are focused lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

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The Open Space

Posted on: March 3rd, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

pillar_03 wwuThis is a meditation about opening the spiritual space for wholeness to enter. It is, of course, in the voice of the spiritual traveler, the one who hints at wisdom and loves the journey for its own sake. This prayer/poem will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler.

The Open Space

Wholeness is the open space,

The place between,

Where the rhythm of being

Enters, flows through,

In my vision and my courage.

Forgiveness is the open space,

Where yesterday meets tomorrow,

Where the tide waits to shift,

Where holiness blesses the mundane,

In my breath and my celebration.

Wisdom is the open space

Where the echo hears the wind,

Where the silence becomes G-d’s Voice,

Where all that I am meets all that I can be,

In my marrow and in my surrender.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

 

Postscript: Here’s a link to one of my favorite prayer/poems in the voice of the spiritual traveler, “Come Walk.” Here’s a link to more related meditations.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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On Making a Mistake

Posted on: April 25th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

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 www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

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