Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Place Yourself: An Unetaneh Tokef

PLACE YOURSELF in front of the fear. 
You will be judged, you will die.
Place yourself in the center of the universe
You earned that spot simply by existing.
Place yourself under obligation to God
However you understand or don’t understand God.
Place yourself on the path of holiness and justice, joy and truth.
Bless and be blessed by HaMakom, the Place where we find ourselves.

Remember what you did wrong
Remember what you did right.
Remember those who came before you.
Remember that you are responsible for those who come after you.
Remember your history.
Remember Torah.
Bless and be blessed by Shaddai, remembering us.

Because the truly evil are already condemned
The truly good are already blessed
And then, there’s the rest of us.
It is said that on Rosh Hashanah God decides your fate: life or death.
And the ten days until Yom Kippur are your opportunity to change God’s mind.
So don’t blow it.
This is a powerful day, a fantastic opportunity!
Choose to be yourself.
Declare yourself for holiness and Justice,  joy and truth.
Bless and be blessed by Shechina, listening.

And as a congregation, we proclaim:
Let the holiness rise up!
On Rosh Hashanah it is written
On Yom Kippur it is sealed.

And let us declare together:
We understand nothing.
All that is physical, ends.
We die.
But not today.
Except sometimes, today.
We fret about the past and worry about the future
And forget to live with where we are now.
And then we die.
We understand nothing.

Teshuvah, Tefilah & Tzedukah 
Restore us to our place.
Teshuvah, when we return to our true selves;
Tefillah, when we stop time in holy conversation;
Tzedukah, when we transcend self;
And that’s when God decrees,
That's when you decide.
Bless and be blessed by Ruach HaOlam, breathing mindfulness.

Listen to the Shofar as it announces:
Awesome and sacred is this sweet day!
The world is filled with the Divine, we are surrounded!
Hear us, know us.
Love us, enjoy us.
Remember us, rouse us.
Forgive us, inspire us, 
Bless and be blessed by Elohim, the Creator, the Created, Creating. 

We place ourselves in front of the fear,
On the path of holiness and Justice, joy and truth.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Prayer for Praying Before Blowing The Shofar

This was written as a kavanah For the Women of the Wall on Rosh Hashana 5774

From Rabbi Arthur Waskow:  'There are three notes on the shofar-  Tekiah, “Awake!”,  Teruah ,”Open your heart!”,  Shevarim, “Sob with all who suffer!

Let us blow the shofar
So that everyone can hear:
Open Your Heart!
Sob with all who suffer!
We pray for all who thus pray.

However you may gather
Only with your own kind,
Only with your own gender,
Only in mixed company.
After a kosher meal,
After a BLT,
In a minyan,
On your own.

In your holy language whatever it may be
Hebrew, Arabic, English, Yiddish, Latin, Russian, Sanskrit, Mandarin, Farsi, Spanish...
all the languages we yearn in.

At your holy sites
In a church,
In a temple,
In a shul,
In a mosque.

In a forest,
In a foxhole,

On a mountain,
At a wall.

However you may be heard
Blowing a shofar.

However you may hold yourself
Eyes open,
Eyes closed,

For whatever reason
With your heart, wishing for the health of a loved one,
With your mouth, reciting liturgy for the continuation of community,
With your body, dancing for spiritual transcendence,
With your feet, acting for a socially just world.

Because when you pray
Whether in obligatory fulfillment of a commandment
Or in mindful awareness of every moment,
Whether in deepest faith or faithful doubt,
When you pray you are kadosh.

And we honor you
Even if you do not honor us.
Please remember,
You speak to God
But you do not speak FOR God

So let us blow the shofar now
So that everyone can hear
That on this holy day
We pray for all who pray
Even those who would stop us from our prayer.
We pray with a loud joyful noise
So that we may be heard
Through all the walls
Because this is a holy conversation.

Open Your Heart!
Sob with all who suffer!