October 22, 2020

Opening the Heart for Rosh Hashana with Marcia Falk’s Prayers

Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, Sept. 23 Marcia Falk will discuss and read from her book, The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season, published in the HBI Series on Jewish Women. The session is designed for those seeking to connect more deeply with their Judaism, and for all those in search of a contemplative approach to these challenging times. Register or learn more here

Here are reprints of five prayers from Falk’s high holiday liturgy, taken from  The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season.

 

Opening the Heart

Opening the Heart At the year’s turn, 

in the days between, 

 

we step away from what we know into the spaces we cannot yet name. 

 

Slowly the edges begin to yield, the hard places soften,

the gate to forgiveness opens.

 

Time

We use it—wisely or not. We fill it and mark it. We try to stop it,

but there is no end to it. And yet, we never have enough. 

 

It is a circle, and it is a line. Moving forward, day by day,

year by year, we come round and round again. Again the 

spring, again the fall—but every leaf a new one, every fall

a new shape falling. 

 

Always starting, never finished, we live always in the

Between.

 

No time, we say, we have no time. Yet we have all the time in the world. 

And there is no time like now.

 

Kol Nidrey: All Vows

All vows— all promises and pledges—

 

that we have made to ourselves 

and that no longer serve

 for the good—

 

 may their grip be loosened

 

that we be present of mind and heart

to the urgency of the hour. 

 

Beneath Shekhinah’s Wings (during Yizkor service)

Like an eagle stirring its nest, hovering over its young, taking them up on widespread wings, lifting them to its breast. —Deuteronomy 32:11 

She hovers over us, 

her fledglings— 

 

the bereaved, 

the brokenhearted— 

 

lifts us to her, 

takes our sorrow. 

 

In the depth of her shade: 

Home.

Kaddish: Beauty of the World 

Praise the world— 

praise its fullness 

 

and its longing, 

its beauty and its grief. 

 

Praise stone and fire, 

lilac and river, 

 

and the solitary bird 

at the window. 

 

Praise the moment 

when the whole 

bursts through pain 

 

and the moment

when the whole 

bursts forth in joy. 

 

Praise the dying beauty 

with all your breath,

and praising, see 

 

the beauty of the world 

is your own.

The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season (HBI Series on Jewish Women) by Marcia Falk, makes a great holiday gift or addition to your Jewish library. To purchase a personally inscribed copy of the book ahead of the event, please email Marcia Falk with “Purchase Days Between” in the subject line. 

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