The Elul Project

Elul Project 5782: You Extend a Hand

אַתָּה נוֹתֵן יָד

You Extend a Hand

a daily email series compiled by Isaac Sonett-Assor

Two outstretched hands reach for each other in the darkAta Notein Yad. You extend a hand to those who are lost.

We recite these words as Yom Kippur comes to a close. We pray that the gates of teshuvah, of return, will be kept open just a bit longer as we offer the day’s final meditations with urgency and momentum.Dr. Marc Zvi Brettler observes that Ata Notein Yad “expresses a remarkable theology—that God not only wants people to repent, but facilitates repentance. God is, in other words, actually on our side.” This liturgy addresses a deep truth about the human potential for growth: despite our best intentions and aspirations, each of us needs help.

Throughout the month of Elul, we invite you to take part in Temple Micah’s daily reflection as we explore the symbol of the outstretched hand. What are the forces that guide, sustain, and pull us? When do we find courage from within, and when do we lean on others? And while Ata Notein Yad urges us to acknowledge the limits of our efforts, this same text reminds us that we wield considerable power. We encourage you to share your thoughts in response to our daily question (you will be asked to email as we will incorporate many of them in our Yom Kippur afternoon service with Liz Lerman. 

And so we ask, how have we used our hands in this past year? What will we build in the year to come?

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