Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wise Counsel, and a prayer for forgiveness

From the Wisdom of Ben Sira, as recorded in the Birnbaum High Holiday Prayerbook: 
Reverence for the ETERNAL is the root of wisdom,
and the branches of wisdom are long life.
Do not exalt yourself, or you may fall
And bring disgrace upon yourse.f
He who provides for his father atones for his sins;
He who honors his mother is like one who gathers treasure.
My child, help your father in his old age;
do not grieve him as long as he lives.
As water will quench a blazing fire,
So kindliness will atone for sin.
My child, do not defraud the poor of their living;
do not make the eyes of the needy wait long.
Do not pain a hungry heart;
Do not anger a man in distress.
Listen to what a poor man has to say,
and give him a peaceful and gentle answer.
Do not put off turning to the ETERNAL;
Do  not postpone it from day to day.
Do not be known as a whisperer;
do not set an ambush with your tongue.
Do not follow your impulses,
But refrain from your longings.
Do not indulge in too much luxury,
And do not be tied to its expense.
Flee from sin as from a serpent,
For it will bite you when you come near it.
Do not be angry with  your neighbor,
And overlook men's ignorance.
Forgive your fellow man his wrongdoings,
Then your sins will be forgiven when you pray.

My heart is open to the hearts of others.
I forgive those who have wronged me this year.
May they not stumble on my account. 
I ask forgiveness of all I have done. 
May I live up to their--and my own--expectations.
O God we plea before you: give us wisdom, love and kindness
 to forgive each other and ourselves.  Pardon the iniquities of this People, of all people.
May we all live up to the words of your Torah, fulfill Your Sacred word:
"The ETERNAL said: 'I pardon according to your plea.'"

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