Thursday, September 22, 2022

Hineni (with link to music video)

Copied from a Facebook post by Rabbi Josh Warshawsky:
It's Hineni time. Time for presence. Time for acknowledgement. Time for recognizing that we cannot do it alone. Always grateful for the Chaverai Nevarech team for the beauty we create together. Read on for my intention setting this year:
I am unfit. I am all there is. I will have to do.
Hineni is the confession of the prayer leader before stepping up to lead the community in the Musaf Amidah, the central prayer of the High Holidays. It is the prayer of one who is aware of their own flaws. It is the prayer of one torn between doing the right thing and not knowing if they are up to the task. It is the prayer of the individual, and yet it is recited in front of the congregation, as we acknowledge that it is the prayer that is likely in each one of our hearts.
In the musical Les Miserables, Valjean sings before he steps before the court:
"If I speak, they are condemned. If I stay silent, I am damned! ...Can I conceal myself for evermore? Pretend I'm not the man I was before? And must my name until I die be no more than an alibi? Must I lie? How can I ever face my fellow men? How can I ever face myself again?"
The prayer leader prays strikingly similar words in Hineni:
אַל נָא תַּפְשִׁיעֵם בְּחַטֹּאתַי, וְאַל תְּחַיְּבֵם בַּעֲווֹנוֹתַי
וְאַל יְהִי שׁוּם מִכְשׁוֹל בִּתְפִלָּתִי. כִּי חוֹטֵא וּפוֹשֵׁעַ אָנִי
“Please, do not hold these people to blame for my sins. Do not find them guilty for my misdeeds. May there not be a stumbling in my prayer, for I am careless and have surely sinned.”
And so we ask for success on this journey to forgiveness and self improvement, though we know we may not be up for the task in this particular moment:
הֱיֵה נָא מַצְלִיחַ דַּרְכִּי וְקַבֵּל תְּפִלָּתִי כִּתְפִלַּת צַדִּיק וְזַכַּאי
אִם קוֹל נָעִים וּפִרְקוֹ נָאֶה וּמְעוּרָב בְּדַעַת עִם כָּל הַבְּרִיּוֹת
“May the path I embark on be successful. Accept my prayer like it is the prayer of the righteous and innocent. Accept it as though it is sung out in a sweet voice. Accept it as though it is prayed by someone whose life has been well spent, by someone who is deeply interconnected with the people and the world around them.”
Can we arouse this sentiment within ourselves? Can we admit that though we have made mistakes, we are all there is. So we will have to do.
May all your prayers be heart-opening, soul-lifting, and filled with intention. May this Rosh Hashanah bring sweetness and goodness to you and your loved ones.
Shanah Tovah,
Wednesday, September 28, 2022 update:
Since I'm having problems getting this blog to display all of my posts, I'm deleting this video and replacing it with a link to the video, in the hope of restoring some of my posts to visibility.  Sorry.  I hope this works.


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