Thursday, September 10, 2009

Elul 22. Petition (a prayer for selichot)

This is a cross-posting from the blog of The Velveteen Rabbi, Rachel Barenblat.  I'm a fan of her blog, and you'll also find a link to the front page of the blog under our 'Blogs that Inspire' list.  For those who are local to Congregation B'nai Israel, we invite you to join us at a S'lichot program and service that is being jointly hosted by us and two of our local Conservative congregations, Beth El of Fairfield and B'nai Torah of Trumbull.  We will be gathering at 8.30 p.m. this Saturday, September 12, for a reading of the play 'The Gates are Closing' written by the wonderful poet and playwright, Merle Feld.  Following the play, there will be discussion and dessert, and then a short S'lichot service to close the night.  Our joint program is being held at B'nai Torah, in Trumbull.

This coming Saturday, when Shabbat has come to an end, it will be time in my community for selichot, a service of prayers which we recite to prepare ourselves for the coming Days of Awe. (You can learn more about selichot here at; there are study resources at this S'lichot-URJ page, and for something completely different -- from a Reform resource to an Orthodox one! -- you might try this essay at Aish called Slichot and the 13 Attributes.)
A while back, my friend Jan (not this Jan, but this Jan) asked whether I'd written any prayers for selichot. I hadn't, but made a note to try to write one during Elul this year. I humbly offer that prayer here. Feel free to use it, share it, daven it, and respond to it in whatever ways you feel moved.


Compassionate One, remember
we are your children
help us to know again
that we are cradled
during these awesome days
of changing light
we want to return
to your lap, to your arms
remind us how to believe
that we are loved
not for our achievements
but because we are yours
as the moon of Elul wanes
and the new year rushes in
hear us with compassion
enfold us, don't let us go

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