Rosh Hashanah – Poetry Touches the Soul

Rosh Hashanah – Poetry Touches the Soul

Rosh Hashanah – Poetry Touches the Soul

A poem can go right down to your soul.

During this season we all reflect on our activities and standing in the world. We hope that the misery of the past year will dissipate and that the coming year will be blessed.

Central to Judaism is the concept that man’s activities are judged by G-d. According to our tradition during this season G-d decides our economic welfare, who will continue to live, who will have children and more.

Yet many of us continue on in the same way. Most play lip service to Teshuva (personal change) and make resolutions to improve ourselves. However, the heart is not always there.

The Shofar can wake us up if we allow it. (see Shofar) Another way to awaken the Spirit is through poetry.

Although some of our Activities are reprehensible we can not put our feelings into words and actions. One of the liturgic poems which we read on Rosh Hashana expresses what our feelings should be. (My non poetic translation may damage the actual song)


Elohai Al Tedineni
My Lord to do not judge me according to my misdeeds And do not measure me according to my actions. The monstrous heart I will prostrate and tear …. If my neighbors could smell my sins Then they would escape, keep far away from my boundaries ….

Although we may have read in Halacha books that we must have such feelings during this season to sing them in exquisite poetry can make us, truthfully, contemplate our deeds.

Most of us do, indeed, have a monstrously large ego represented in the poem by the heart.

With regards to the final verse I quoted: We do not usually inform our neighbors of all the going’s on in our homes. I am sure that we would like that information kept confidential. We would not want to cause the property value to go down.

Shana Tova