Posts Tagged ‘Yamim Noraim’

 

Authentic Confession: Meditation on the Vidui

Posted on: July 19th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

ashamnuIn preparation for the Yamim Noraim, I’ll lead a free workshop called “Authentic Confessions: Selichot that Matter,” presented by the soon to be launched ‘High Holidays at Home’ from Haggadot.com. Register here for the August 26 webinar. We’ll look at traditional and new texts of the Vidui, the confessional, and we’ll ask: What is an authentic confession? And what are the confessions that matter? Here’s one answer:

Meditation on the Vidui
For the sins I’ve committed against myself,
And for the sins I’ve committed against others,
I offer a new heart.

For the sins I’ve committed against my family,
And for the sins I’ve committed against my friends,
I offer new understanding.

For the sins I’ve committed against children,
And for the sins I’ve committed against adults,
I offer new restraint.

For the sins I’ve committed against neighbors,
And for the sins I’ve committed against strangers,
I offer new insight.

For the sins I’ve committed against the powerful,
And for the sins I’ve committed against the weak,
I offer new wisdom.

For the sins I’ve committed against nations,
And for the sins I’ve committed against peoples,
I offer a new voice.

G-d of generations,
Source of forgiveness and grace,
For the sins that I remember,
And for the sins that I’ve forgotten,
I offer myself, in humble service,
To You, Your Word and Your Holy Name.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: This was originally published on Aug. 31, 2011. Click here for my 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.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Va-yehi Or

Meditation on the Vidui

Posted on: October 6th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

ashamnuHere’s a meditation to be recited after the Yom Kippur confessional prayer, written to reinforce the core message of repentence and return. It was originally posted as a “Meditation after the Yom Kippur Vidui.” A friend pointed out that with a broader name for the prayer it can be used on Selichot, as well as throughout the month of Elul as preparation for the High Holy Days, the Yamim Noraim.

Meditation on the Vidui
For the sins I’ve committed against myself,
And for the sins I’ve committed against others,
I offer a new heart.

For the sins I’ve committed against my family,
And for the sins I’ve committed against my friends,
I offer new understanding.

For the sins I’ve committed against children,
And for the sins I’ve committed against adults,
I offer new restraint.

For the sins I’ve committed against neighbors,
And for the sins I’ve committed against strangers,
I offer new insight.

For the sins I’ve committed against the powerful,
And for the sins I’ve committed against the weak,
I offer new wisdom.

For the sins I’ve committed against nations,
And for the sins I’ve committed against peoples,
I offer a new voice.

G-d of generations,
Source of forgiveness and grace,
For the sins that I remember,
And for the sins that I’ve forgotten,
I offer myself, in humble service,
To You, Your Word and Your Holy Name.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Thanks to Rabbi Joseph Meszler for the suggestion. This was originally published on Aug. 31, 2011. 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.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Va-yehi Or

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

Creation Sings

Posted on: September 7th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Legend says that God created the world on Rosh Hashanah. So, Rosh Hashanah is not only the first day of the New Year and the Day of Judgement, it’s also marks the creation of all. For this new year, Cantor Erin Frankel of Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, enlisted me and her musical collaborator AJ Luca write a new song celebrating creation using words from the High Holiday prayer, HaYom Harat Olam. Here’s a music video of the song, performed by Erin and AJ.

Creation Sings
Lyrics: Alden Solovy
Music: Cantor Erin Frankel, AJ Luca

Then the sun rose,
For the first time,
To warm the land,
To warm our hearts,
To warm our hands.

Tides shifting,
Birds winging,
Flowers bursting,
Clouds drifting,
Eden singing.

And light sparkled,
The heavens shimmered,
While love echoed,
The future glimmered.

היום הרת עולם
היום הרת עולם
Hayom Harat Olam.
Hayom Harat Olam.

Today the birthday of the world.
Today is the birthday of our world.

Let the sun rise,
On a new day,
To warm the land,
To warm our hearts,
To warm our hands.

Light still sparkles,
From creation,
Love still echoes,
The world’s foundation.

היום הרת עולם
היום הרת עולם
Hayom Harat Olam.
Hayom Harat Olam.

Today the birthday of the world.
Today is the birthday of our world.

So these hours
Of introspection,
And these moments
Of deep reflection,
Will bring us back
To G-d’s creation,
And lift our hearts,
With jubilation.

היום הרת עולם
היום הרת עולם
Hayom Harat Olam.
Hayom Harat Olam.

Today the birthday of the world.
Today is the birthday of the world.

Lyrics © 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Music © 2018 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

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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

Take Us to the Mountain

Posted on: September 4th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

This Rosh Hashanah prayer — written at the request of the Central Conference of American Rabbis — appeared in their High Holy Day Resources 2017. The request: create an apolitical High Holiday prayer responding to the rising tide of antisemitism. Given the challenge, I drafted principles to guide the writing; afterward, I annotated the prayer. Links to the guidelines and the annotated version are in the postscript. I’m honored to have been asked to produce new liturgy for the Movement.

Take Us to the Mountain
Lead us to the river,
To cast our sins upon the waters.
The world may go mad.
We must stay sane.

Take us to the mountain,
To cast our eyes toward the heavens,
The world may go mad.
We must have hope.

?יהוה, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי, מִמִּי אִירָא
Adonai ori v’yishi, mimi ira?
God is my light and my refuge secure,
Whom shall I fear?

Hate has come calling,
To consume the heart of justice,
To consume the heart of mercy,
To challenge our lives and our ideals.

.יהוה מָעוֹז-חַיַּי, מִמִּי אֶפְחָד
Adonai maoz-chayai, mimi efchad?
God is the stronghold of my life,
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Love, too, has come calling,
To enliven the heart of righteousness,
To enliven the heart of rejoicing,
To fulfill our hopes and our dreams.

We need not be prophets of doom,
To see that anger stalks the night
And threatens our days.

Arise, awaken,
Let us be prophets of blessing,
Bringing kindness as our message,
And tikkun olam as the work of our hands.

Let us repent our own offenses.
Let us repair our own wrongs.
Let us be upright in thought and deed.

Fountain of Life,
Bring us to the river of Your blessings.
Lead us to the mountain of your salvation.
Bring Your light to the nations.
Bring Your healing to the world.

?אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים, מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי
.עֶזְרִי, מֵעִם יהוה, עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶ
Esa einai el-heharim, mei-ayin yavo ezri?
Ezri mei-im Adonai, oseih shamayim vaaretz.
I lift my eyes to the mountains,
For where will my help come?
My help comes from the Eternal,
Maker of heaven and earth.

God of All,
Let Your sukkat shalom,
Your shelter of peace,
Descend from the highest heavens
To bless us and all creation
On this New Year.

© 2017 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. Rights for use in prayer – including reprints – are granted to CCAR, CCAR members and URJ member synagogues. All other rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to the annotated version and a link to the liturgical guidelines used to craft this prayer. “We Will Not Yield” is a political approach to some of the same themes. This year, a prayer “For Houston” night also be appropriate. My other High Holiday prayers — many of which can be found in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day — can also be found by clicking 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.

Photo Source: Israel Tours/Shmuel Browns

Meditation before the Vidui

Posted on: September 15th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

imageThis meditation is to help prepare for a thorough and honest self-assessment before the confession litany, the Vidui, traditionally recited five times on Yom Kippur. It’s recited on Rosh Hashanah and is used in Selichot services. Originally posted as a “Meditation before the Yom Kippur Vidui,” a friend suggested using a title that makes clear this can be used throughout Elul in preparation for the High Holy Days.

Meditation before the Vidui
G-d of Old,
Judge and Sovereign,
Healer and Guide:

Today I recount my deeds,
The sins I’ve committed,
The blessings I’ve bestowed.

Today I recall my year,
The challenges I’ve faced,
The decisions I’ve made.

Today I reach into my heart,
The moments of anger,
The moments of love.

By Your command
G-d of Mercy,
I lay bare the secrets within me,
Light and darkness,
My gentle hand and my clenched fist,
My strength and conceit,
Anger and fear.

By Your command
G-d of Wisdom,
I open myself to see truth,
Beauty and degradation,
The holy and the profane,
The victorious and the guilty.

By Your command
G-d of Salvation,
I reclaim all that I am
And all that I’ve done,
My pride and my shame,
Returning to You
So that I may redeem my days
With awe and righteousness.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Note that the traditional Siddur includes a Vidui in Tachanun, but only in Israel. This prayer wasn’t conceived with regular use in mind. Thanks to Rabbi Joseph Meszler for the suggestion. This was originally published on Aug. 30, 2011.  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.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Kedem Auction House

Meditation on the Vidui

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

ashamnuThis prayer was originally posted as a “Meditation after the Yom Kippur Vidui.” A friend pointed out that with a broader name for the prayer it — and my “Meditation Before the Yom Kippur Vidui” — can be used on Selichot, as well as throughout the month of Elul as preparation for the High Holy Days, the Yamim Noraim.

Meditation on the Vidui
For the sins I’ve committed against myself,
And for the sins I’ve committed against others,
I offer a new heart.

For the sins I’ve committed against my family,
And for the sins I’ve committed against my friends,
I offer new understanding.

For the sins I’ve committed against children,
And for the sins I’ve committed against adults,
I offer new restraint.

For the sins I’ve committed against men,
And for the sins I’ve committed against women,
I offer new vision.

For the sins I’ve committed against neighbors,
And for the sins I’ve committed against strangers,
I offer new insight.

For the sins I’ve committed against the powerful,
And for the sins I’ve committed against the weak,
I offer new wisdom.

For the sins I’ve committed against nations,
And for the sins I’ve committed against peoples,
I offer a new voice.

G-d of generations,
Source of forgiveness and grace,
For the sins that I remember,
And for the sins that I’ve forgotten,
I offer myself, in humble service,
To You, Your Word and Your Holy Name.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Thanks to Rabbi Joseph Meszler for the suggestion. This was originally published on Aug. 31, 2011. 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.

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. Connect with To Bend Light on Facebook and on Twitter.

Photo Source: Va-yehi Or

Ki Tavo: Be the Blessing

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

blessingsThis week’s parasha, Ki Tavo, lists blessings and curses. “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you, if you harken to the voice of Adonai your God.” (Deut. 28:2) Blessings come from accepting God’s law; curses come from rejecting it. “…if you do not harken to the voice of Adonai your God… then all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” (Deut. 28:15)  This prayer centers on the idea that we are the tools of both.

Be the Blessing
To be a blessing, to be a curse.
To speak with kindness, to speak in anger.
To act with compassion, to act with cruelty.
With a loving heart or with threatening hands.
To build. To destroy.
To lift up. To tear apart.
Mindful or thoughtless.
Careful or careless.
Openhanded. Closefisted.
Honest. Corrupt.
To strive for holiness, or to abandon God’s word.

To be a blessing, to be a curse.
You gave us this choice, God of generations.
To bless ourselves, to curse ourselves.
To bless each other, to curse each other.

Let blessings pour forth from my life.
Let blessings rain down from heaven.
God’s blessings will fill our days.
God’s blessings will surround us all.

Be the blessing.
Be the blessing.
Be the blessing.

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

Postscript: See also “An Amazing Life,” “A Moment of Blessing,” “Receiving Blessings,” “Umbrella of Blessings” and “Garden of Blessings.”

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: Russham: Faith, Inspiration and Challenging Thoughts

Is this the Fast? A Social Justice Prayer

Posted on: August 23rd, 2015 by Alden No Comments

16x9_Isaiah-58On Yom Kippur morning we read Isaiah’s exhortation on the worthlessness of ritual without righteousness. The prophet admonishes the people for fasting but ignoring G-d’s mandates: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen? To loose the fetters of wickedness… to deal thy bread to the hungry… to bring the poor that are cast out into thy house?” [Isaiah 58:6-7] This prayer for social justice asks the same question – “Is this the…” – for many more of our ritual practices. This prayer is appropriate for the spiritual journey of Elul, as well as for use on Yom Kippur

Is this the Fast? A Social Justice Prayer
Peace, peace,
To those who are upright,
Those who are steady,
Those who bring holiness
And light into the world.

Is this the fast we fast?
To remember the homeless and the needy?
To bring healing into the streets,
And justice into our courtyards?

Is this the sukkah we build?
To summon the hungry and forlorn?
To put food in the mouths of the poor
And bring strangers into our tents?

Is this the seder we host?
To end bondage in farm and factory?
To rally before the seats of power
In the name of the oppressed?

Is this the kashrut we keep?
To end mistreatment of flock and herd?
To live in harmony with the land?
To use our resources wisely?

Is this the Torah we learn?
To hear the word of G-d,
With humility and delight,
To thirst for truth and yearn for wisdom?

Is this the Shabbat we keep?
To shake off the bonds of the mundane?
To remember and keep the Sabbath?
To restore our lives and dream of the world to come?

Is this the prayer we pray?
To cry out to the Holy One in joy and sorrow,
In the name of wholeness and healing,
In the name of peace?

Peace, peace,
In your gardens and in your groves,
In your houses and your villages,
For you will be called a delight,
A lamp of awe,
A beacon of wonder,
A source of healing,
And a well of inspiration,
Among your people Israel.

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

Postscript: This prayer also alludes to another line from the Yom Kippur morning haftarah: “Peace, peace to him that is far off and him that is near…” (Isaiah 57:19), offering healing to those who walk a path of righteousness. The haftarah portion for Yom Kippur morning is Isaiah 57:14-58:14. Here’s a link to an annotated list of my prayers for the Yamim Noraim.

Tweetable! Click here to tweet this: “Is this the Fast?” A powerful social justice prayer based on Isaiah 58:6-7 from @ToBendLight.

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: Northshore Community Church

Vayeshev 5775: For Humility

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

HumilityThis week’s Torah reading shows the maturing of Joseph: from a boy who tattles on his brothers, flaunting his dreams and his special coat, to a man who knows that his gifts come from G-d. He learns humility. This is meditation about living a life of humility and service. It appears in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below.

 

For Humility
G-d, give me a quiet heart,
A peaceful heart,
A humble heart.
Teach me to be gentle with myself,
So that I may be gentle with others.
Teach me to be patient with myself,
So that I may be patient with others.
Teach me kindness and gratitude,
Joy and humor,
Strength and forgiveness,
Trust and faith,
Openness, willingness and surrender.

To Praise, not to be praised.
To Bless, not to be blessed.
To Glorify, not to be glorified.
To Extol, not to be extolled.
To Sanctify, not to be sanctified.

So that all will go well with your People Israel.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Although I’ve selected this prayer for Vayeshev 5775, it can be said at any time and has particular relevance during the Counting of the Omer and the Hebrew month of Elul. This prayer first appeared on this site on August 4, 2010.

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. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

Photo Credit: Courage for Life

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