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Mishkan HaNefesh, Rosh Hashanah, Setting Intentions

Mishkan HaNefesh: Setting Intentions

High Holy Days 2023

Mishkan HaNefesh, Rosh Hashanah p. 138


The Hineni prayer is traditionally recited by the community’s prayer leader, humbly acknowledging their inadequacy to properly lead the community through such a significant moment. This interpretation of the prayer is recited by the individual as they prepare for the High Holy Days and the soul-searching self-evaluation which lies ahead.


Here I am,
   one soul within this prayer community. 

Like those around me, I bring my own concerns and yearnings
   to this place,
hoping they will find expression in the time-hallowed words
   of my people and in the traditions cherished by generations 
   before me.
May I bring the best of my energies to these Holy Days, 
   approaching this spiritual work with open heart and mind, 
   sincerity, and sustained focus on the deep questions of 
   this season:
Who am I? How shall I live? Where have I fallen short —
   or failed?
This night I take up the challenge of the Days of Awe:
   chesbon hanefesh — a searching examination of my life,
   a moral inventory of my deeds, words, and thoughts.
During the next ten days, 
   let me face the truth about myself and listen to Your still, 
   small voice.
Taking comfort in Your promise that I am always free to change, 
   released from staleness and routine,
   let me know the joy of beginning again.
May I gain strength as I share this task with those around me,
   united by our common purpose:
   tikkun midot (improving our characters) and tikkun olam
   (repairing the world).

I now prepare myself to pray — one soul amidst this holy


Excerpts from Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe © 2015 are under the copyright protection of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and used by permission of the CCAR. All rights reserved.