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?

Day 1: “Koli Ekra” – Elana Arian Day 2: “Don’t Let Me Fall” – Kadya Molodowsky Day 3: “I Didn’t Find Light by Accident” – Chayim Nachman Bialik
Day 4: “At morning and at evening I seek You” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol Day 5: “Modern Psalms, no. 1” – Arnold Schoenberg Day 6: “Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
Day 7: “Thinking About God” – Rabbi Kari Tuling Day 8: “The Body is Like Roots Stretching” – Charles Reznikoff Day 9: “My Celebrating Soul” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol
Day 10: “Ki Hinei Kachomer (Here we are as clay) – Kol Nidre Liturgy Day 11: “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand” – Maurice Ravel Day 12: “Move On” from Sunday in the Park with George – Stephen Sondheim
Day 13: “A Friend” – Umberto Saba Day 14: Avot deRabbi Natan 8:3, from A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts Day 15: The Memory Palace, Episode 184: Betty Robinson
Day 16: “Toward a Queer Jewish Theology” – Jay Michaelson Day 17: “Der Einsame im Herbst (The lonely one in Autumn)” – Tschang Tsi Day 18: “R’fa Tsiri” – Hazzan Rafael Antebi Tabbush
Day 19: “After My Death” – Chayim Nachman Bialik Day 20: “Ghazal: American the Beautiful” – Alicia Ostriker Day 21: “Forgiveness” – Aaron Samuels
Day 22: Deuteronomy 8:10-17 Day 23: “Hands” – Sarah Kay Day 24: “Petition” – Asenath Barzani
Day 25: Genesis 42:37 Day 26: “After Auschwitz” – Richard L. Rubenstein Day 27: “Reconstructing Divine Power” – Sandra Lubarsky
Day 28: “Answer Me” from The Band’s Visit – David Yazbek  Day 29: “The Head of the Year” – Marge Piercy  
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