It is tradition for the shaliakh tzibur, the prayer leader, to recite a personal prayer called Hineini (based on the famous biblical phrase, “Hineini,” “Here I am”) in front of the entire congregation before beginning the Musaf service on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The prayer expresses a leader’s sense of unworthiness in leading a community in prayer during the High Holy Days such that God would be moved by their prayers for forgiveness. They ask that their supplication be accepted “as if it were uttered by one worthy of this task.” I’ve always loved singing Hineini when leading services, but I wanted one of my own for the times when I’m not. I also wanted to rewrite it to express some of the self-worth this prayer actually conveys for those who dabble too much in self-doubt. This poem/prayer can be used by individuals during a formal prayer service or as a way to enter into the yamim nora’im, the Days of Awe, in general.
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