Spiritual Notes by Cantor Stacey


I hope you enjoy reading my spiritual notes, which will include both written and video journal entries about our experiences with the seniors.

Other Posts
Temple Menorah Cantor's Weekly Message
Readying for the High Holy Days: The Hineini

When we step up to Rosh Hashana, we are saying that we are ready to be present, to look at ourselves and take an accounting of our lives, our deeds in the past year, and vow to do better in the coming one. We are saying Hineini, here I am, with all of my faults and imperfections, willing to do my best, to offer my best. For a moment, we stand alone, yet with others, admitting we're not all that and a bag of chips, but we're going to do our best, really our best, now and in the future. Since I’m not perfect, please don't blame others for my errors and imperfections, and please don't blame me for the imperfections of others. We are trying our best – we are present; we care enough to want to improve. So this year, as in the years before, cover all our faults with a veil of love, and allow us another year to do good, for ourselves, for others, as we bravely open our hearts to this time of turning, returning, retuning, and change.

You have just said the Hineini prayer.

This simple prayer begins our process through the Days of Awe with humility and gratefulness. It's like a psychic washing of hands, stripping away the muck, and agreeing to be present for the accounting, the retuning that must come, which will help direct and shape the coming year. The Hineini reminds us to be a mensch, to care for others AND ourselves, to do our best, to be present, in all things. We say, "Hineni - Here I am." I am brave and trusting enough to open myself not just to God – that’s easy – but to myself, and to be honest. I can do even better. So please, Self, and God, judge me on my merits and not my faults.

For those of us who lead the congregation in prayer, there is another piece: Let my voice be pleasing, our words inspiring, “as if I were supremely capable of the task.” Each year, I am at once both honored and humbled to be allowed to help direct our prayers in song. In a traditional offering of this prayer, the hazzan walks from the back of the synagogue, to show that he or she is simply a sheliach tzibbur, messenger in prayer, not separate from other voices, but buoyed up by them. I pray that I am able to support and represent you, as you support me during this time.

As we enter the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, let us all connect, with Adonai, Ourselves, and Each Other, and strive to be better, do better, in the coming year. Hineini, God – Here I am. Cover All our faults with your veil of Love.

L’Shana Tovah Tikateivu!  May you be inscribed for a Good Year!