At the Closing of the Gates


This is a chant that came through for me the other day in ancticipation of the Ne'ilah Service - the metaphorical closing of the gates at the end of Yom Kippur. Some friends have commented that they are uncomfortable with the fourth line, "and you won't turn away," and proposed substitutions of "we won't turn away" and "please don't turn away." For me, the lyrics as written work - as a statement of hope and belief. But a leader could choose a different lyric or vary the words in different iterations, creating a more complex statement of relationship: hope, commitment, anxiety, petition. 

I also think this could be read inwardly - not words to God, or only to God, but to the self one wants to invite in.


The melody seemed to move my cousin Alden Solovy, who composed two prayer poems in response: Meditation Before Neilah and At the Gates.