Posts Tagged ‘t’shuva’

 

So My Soul May Sing

Posted on: September 15th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Repentance frees the soul. Then, we can sing to G-d with complete joy. This music debuted at S’lichot Services at Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, in 2017 and was released this week as a music video for this year’s Yamim Nora’im. The Hebrew is from Psalm 30. “So that my soul may sing hymns to you endlessly, Adonai my God, I will thank you forever (Psalm 30:13).” The video features the composers, Cantor Erin Frankel and AJ Luca.

So My Soul May Sing
Lyrics: Alden Solovy
Music: Cantor Erin Frankel, AJ Luca

What we hope
What we dream,
Our dearest prayers,
Can’t be broken.

What we deny,
What we discard,
Our deepest fears,
Can’t be spoken.

But our love,
And our joy,
With our hearts,
Can be woken…

To You, to You, to You.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

Let Your love,
And Your joy,
From Your heart,
Be my emotion

So my soul
And my voice
Will rise up
To be spoken.

To You, to You, to You.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

So the weight
Of these wrongs
That I’ve done
Won’t define me.

While the pain
Of these sins
That I recall
Won’t confine me.

,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
,לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם
.יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ

L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
L’ma’an y’za-mer-cha cha-vod v’lo yi-dom
Adonai Elohai L’o-lam O-de-ka.

What we hope,
What we dream,
Our dearest prayers,
Can’t be broken.

Lyrics © 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Music © 2017 Erin Frankel and AJ Luca. All rights reserved.

Postscript: With my deep love and affection for Erin and AJ. In friendship with the clergy team at Congregation Rodeph Shalom — Erin, Rabbi Jill Maderer and Rabbi Eli Freedman — and gratitude for their ongoing support of my work. In appreciation of the Lee Stanley Music Fund for making the music and the video possible.

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.

Photo Source: Congregation Rodeph Shalom

Ki Tisa 5775: Dust and Water

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

the-adoration-of-the-golden-calf-1966After seeing the Israelites worshiping a golden calf and smashing the tablets of the covenant, Moses melts the idol, grinds it to powder, casts it into water “…and made the children of Israel drink of it.” (Exodus 32:20)

Dust and Water
I have tasted
The dust of my sins,
The grit of my misdeeds,
The sludge of bad thoughts
And wrong action.

I have tasted
The pure water of goodness,
The font of my charity,
The clarity of good intentions
And generous acts.

G-d,
I am but flesh and blood,
Prone to error,
Inclined to holiness.
Guide me.
Support me.
Lead me to a life of celebration.
Let the rivers of righteousness
Overflow their banks,
Washing clean the dust of sorrow,
Washing clean the dust of fear and misdeed.
My hands will do Your work,
My feet with follow Your path,
And my life will be a well
Of awe and wonder.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Consider using this prayer during the month of Elul and on Yom Kippur. Here are lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.

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.

Photo Source: WikiArt: Marc Chagall, “Adoration of the Golden Calf”

The Greatest Sin

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Rosh Hashana 5775The High Holiday Vidui – the Jewish confessional prayer – contains a broad list of transgressions. This meditation suggests that the greatest sin of all is failure to create the conditions in our hearts and in our lives that lead to love of each other and service to G-d. The idea: if we engage always in these acts, there is no room for sin. In other words, the greatest transgression is to carelessly allow the conditions for sin to take root. See also: “Meditation Before the Yom Kippur Vidui”and “Meditation After the Yom Kippur Vidui.”

The Greatest Sin
The greatest sin
Is not to see
The miracle of each new day
Or to fill our days with hope
And love.

The greatest sin
Is not to see
The miracle of each new breath
Or to fill each breath with joy
And service.

The roots of sin
Are hatred and idle hands.
The roots of holiness
Are love and work.

G-d of wisdom,
Grant me the ability
To see the flow of miracles around me,
In awe and wonder,
So that I become of vessel of Your glory,
And an instrument of Your holy name.

Then, I will rejoice,
Rededicating my life to You,
With prayer
And with deeds of loving-kindness.

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

Postscript: 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 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.

Photo Source: Temple Beth Elohim

Meditation on the Eve of a New Year

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

Rosh Hashana 5775 Card ChabadA new meditation — written this morning — as the year 5774 comes to an end. May 5775 bring hope, blessing and peace. Instructions for using this meditation are found in [brackets]. May you have a year of health and happiness, joy and laughter, livelihood, sustenance, prayer and love.

Meditation on the Eve of a New Year
G-d,
Dear G-d,
We stand at the cusp of a New Year,
Looking forward, looking backward,
So much accomplished,
So much neglected,
Gains and losses,
Joys and sorrows,
Victories and defeats.
A life.
My life.

You,
G-d of Old,
You are Steadfast Witness,
Source and Shelter.
I bend my heart to You,
Recalling these gifts:

[Part 1: Think about, say out loud or write down blessings in your life, including: people, places, events and things. Be specific: a son, daughter, niece, nephew, brother or sister, by name; a wedding a birth or other joyous occasion, with names; seeing a sunrise or a rare bird; a favorite shirt, a new bed, a home repair or expansion; a new job. See how beautifully detailed and long you can make the list, seeing the many blessings that flow through your life.]

[Part 2: If you can, name the blessings that arose from sorrows, for example: a merciful death, an end to suffering or beautiful eulogy for someone, by name; rebuilding after a disaster; potential new life after a divorce. Don’t force it; be true to how you actually feel, not how you think you ‘should’ feel. If you can, try to see how, sometimes, even in times of sorrow there can be gifts.]

G-d,
My G-d,
For consolation in my grief,
For sunlight and midnight,
For hope in my celebrations,
For warmth and for shelter,
For current and tide,
For family and for friends,
For the flow of beauty and grace,
I bend my life back to You,
As the New Year descends,
In love and in service,
My offering
To Your Holy Name.

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

Postscript: Here’s a related meditation called “Another Year: An Introspection” and a link to prayers and stories for the Yamim Noraim, the High Holy Days, listed by topic, some of which 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. Please take a moment to explore my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Photo Source: Chabad.org

 

Gates

Posted on: September 20th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

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.”

Gates
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 tobendlight.com. 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.

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.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy

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.

Photo Source: Alden Solovy

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.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yom Kippur 5774

Posted on: September 8th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

YK Artscroll MachzorYom Kippur. A day of prayer. Of fasting. Of repentance. It can be deadly dull, hour after hour, year after year. Yet, I’ve experienced moments that have taken my breath away. These experiences went far beyond a deep connection with prayer. They shifted my relationship to G-d and my understanding of myself. They also inform my work as a poet and liturgist. I wrote about them in the Times of Israel, in an essay titled “Cry No More: Three Prayers, Two Visions and a Fire.” I invite you to read it as part of you Yom Kippur preparation.

Here’s a link to an annotated list of all of my Yom Kippur prayers. This year my “go to” prayer is “The Path of Righteousness.”

May you be inscribed for a year of health and happiness, awe and wonder, prosperity and peace.

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.

Photo Source: Getty Images/Steve Allen

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.

Photo Source: Wise Living

Let Your Heart Stir

Posted on: August 11th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

Elul-Temple Bnai SholomThis three-stanza prayer/poem reflects the spiritual journey of t’shuva, repentance and return. The first stanza represents the month of Elul, when we are literally called to introspection by the sound of the shofar. The second stanza represents Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment that also heralds the joy and hope of a new heart and another chance to live a life of holiness. The third stanza represents Yom Kippur, when, after 40 days of introspection and one intense day of prayer and fasting, our spirits are renewed. Our hearts stir throughout these 40 days, but differently as the progression of themes and emotions lead us to new awareness, new behavior and new relationships with ourselves, with the world and with G-d.

Let Your Heart Stir
Breathe in the sound of the shofar.
Let the trumpet of our people
Be the voice of your heart.
For your soul knows the call.
Let your heart stir
And your eyes open, anew.

Taste the sweetness of the new year.
The delight of healing,
The joy of possibilities,
The pleasure of being.
Let your heart stir
And your eyes open, anew.

Exalt in the triumph of forgiveness.
Let the glory of repentance
Be the light of your days,
For your spirit knows the way home.
Let your heart stir
And your eyes open, anew.

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

Postscript: Here are links to prayers for Elul, prayers for Rosh Hashana, prayers for Yom Kippur and prayers for Sukkot.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “Breathe in the sound of the shofar. Let the trumpet of our people
Be the voice of your heart…” A prayer: https://tobendlight.com/?p=8243

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.

Photo Source: Temple B’nai Shalom

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

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