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Monday, September 2, 2013

Hineni - I am Here

Elul 28

Hineni – I am here

“Hineni,” “I am here,” says Adam when God asks where he is in the Garden of Eden.  “Hineni,” “I am here,” says Abraham when God asks him to take Isaac to the mountaintop.
“Hineni,” “I am here,” we say to our children in the dark when they are frightened.
“Hineni,” “I am here,” we say to one we love in our darkest moments of isolation and loneliness.
“Hineni,” “I am here,” we must say to ourselves when doubt and fear engulf us.

In the coming Days of Awe, we need not feel alone.  We will come together as a community to pray, to do tzedakah, to return in teshuvah, to avert the fear and isolation that we face throughout our lives and throughout our years.

I have always loved the concept of the Hineni prayer – words recited by the rabbi, cantor or “shaliach tzibur” – the one leading prayer on the High Holidays – appealing for humility and ability to lead the community in the overwhelming task of teshuvah during the Days of Awe.  The traditional words begin “I am here - me, of little merit…” The leader of prayer asks that the community not be judged on his or her account, merely that we be held accountable for the fact that we are present, we are here. Only in humility can we begin this journey.  Just showing up is enough. Each of us can say “Hineni,” “I am here.”  Each of us must be present.

Hineni – I am here.

p.s.  - 
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May the coming year be filled with blessings, awe and love.  And perhaps most of all, with Shalom.

Rabbi Jim Bennett

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