From the time of the Temple until today, our spiritual leaders have trembled at the enormity of task of praying for forgiveness on behalf of the entire Jewish people. In all corners of the globe, whereever Jews assemble to pray during these Days of Awe, Hineni — the leader’s prayer for humility — is in the heart of our leaders. The melody is haunting and beautiful. To listen to the story, click on the triangle in the slider bar below. The text follows.
The morning before Kol Nidre, Cantor Cohen is dressed by sunrise, covered by his talit, wrapped in hope and fear. The gates of heaven, still shut. The gates of repentance, still locked. The gates of forgiveness, unmoved. What will it take, O God, for my voice to reach You? What will it take, Our Maker, for our pleas to move You? Should we shake heaven with a mighty song? Or should we cry in whispers, hoping to be heard? The prayer, ancient. The longing, present. And Cantor Cohen prays to pray with a perfect heart.
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Postscript: Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim, including brief descriptions and links to each. Use it list to look for prayers topically. To narrow your search, here are lists divided by holiday and topic: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.