D’var Torah: Unatana Tokef

A modern meditation

Rabbi Ann Brener, LCSW
Rabbi Ann Brener, LCSW

We now confront the meaning of this day

As we stare into the face of our own mortality.

We form a circle.

Hands and souls linked,

We stand as community.

Together we contemplate

The Yomim Noraim.

The days of awe,

The days of trembling.

Our eyes scan the room

And lock with the eyes of others,

As we consider the year just begun.

As we cross the threshold of a New Year,

We are not so foolish

As to think that it will be

A year unblemished by tears.

Give us the strength to stand as a circle,

When the year is touched by anguish and pain.

When injustice, illness, and death,

Enter the circle,

Give us the compassion not to avert our gaze.

Only You know what the year will bring.

Who will live and who will die.

Who will face cancer or depression

Or the other maladies of flesh and soul.

Job loss, addiction, infertility, heartbreak,

Temptations to stray from vows to family and community.

Impoverishment, earthquake, hurricanes, acts of terror,

We are vulnerable creatures subject to Your grace.

We do not ask to be exempt from the afflictions of being human.

We only ask that you be with us in the peaks and in the valleys,

That you help us to stand with each other in good times and in bad.

And that the circle of witness and consolation

Remains unbroken

In the coming year.

Amen.

—- Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW mekamot@aol.com

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