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על חטא | For the Sin of Destroying God’s Creation by Rabbi Danny Nevins, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (2007)

Hebrew English

אֱלֹהֵי עוֹלָם, אָתַּה בָּרָאתָּ בְּמִידַת הָרַחֲמִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמַיִם
וְנַפָחְתָּ נִשְׁמַת חַיִים בִּבְהֵמוֹת וְחַיוֹת וּבְנֵי אָדָם.‏
Eternal God, You created earth and heavens with mercy,
and blew the breath of life into animals and human beings.

נִבְרַאנוּ בְּקֶרֶב עוֹלָם הַשְׁלֵמוּת,‏
עוֹלָם שֶׁנִקְרָא טּוֹב מְאֹד, טָהוֹר וְנָאֶה,‏
וְעָתָּה בְּיָדֵינוּ הָמוֹן מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יִמָּחוּ מִסֵּפֶר חַיִּים.‏
We were created amidst a world of wholeness,
a world called “very good,”[1] Gen 1:31.  pure and beautiful,
but now your many works are being erased by us from the book of life.

לֹא עַל צִדְקוֹתֵינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מַפִּילִים תַּחֲנוּנֵינוּ לְפָנֶיךָ ה׳ אֶלֹהֵינוּ,‏
כִּי אָשַׁמְנוּ, הִשְׁחַתְּנוּ, הָרָסְנוּ.‏
Not by our righteousness do we make our pleas before You, Adonai our God,
for we have sinned, ruined, destroyed.

וּבְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ שֶׁתִּכְבֹּשׁ עַלֵינוּ וּתְּכָפֵּר לָנוּ
עַל חֵטְּא שֶׁמִלְאֵנוּ אֶרֶץ וְיָמִּים בְּזֶבֶל וְתַּרְעֵלָה וְאַֽשְׁפֹּת,‏
וְעַל חֵטְּא שֶהִשְׁמָּדְנוּ לַנֶצַח בְּרִיוֹת נִפְלָאוֹת
שֶׁהִצַלְתָּ מִימֵּי הַמָּבּוּל,‏
עַל חֵטְּא שֶׁחֲשָׂפְנוּ יְעָרוֹת וְעֵצִים, הָרִים וּגְבָעוֹת,‏
עַל חֵטְּא שֶׁהַפַכְנוּ שָׁמַיִם לְשֵׁבֶט,‏
וְעַל חֵטְּא שֶׁעֲשַׂנוּ שְׁמָמָה מְקוֹם בָּר וּמָזוֹן הַמְחַיֶה נֶפֶש כָּל חַי,‏
May it be Your will that You help us overcome and make atonement:
For the wrong of filling land and ocean with filth, toxins and garbage;
And for extinguishing forever wondrous species
which You saved from the waters of the flood;
For the wrong of razing forests and trees, valleys and mountains,
For the wrong of turning the atmosphere into a chastening rod,[2] Job 37:13 
And for making desolate the habitats that give life to every living soul.

פְּקַח עֵינֵינוּ וְנִרְאֶה אֶת הוֹד יְצִירָתֶךָ, וּנְשָׁבֵּחֲךָ
כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: מָֽה־רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יהוה
כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ.‏
Open our eyes to see the majesty of Your creation, and we will praise You,
as it is written: “How manifold are Your works, Adonai!
You made them all with wisdom; the earth is filled with what you hold.”[3] Ps. 104:24. 

אָנָא ה׳ הַגֵן עַל כֻּלָּם, בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ יֶחֱסָיוּן,‏
חַדֵּשׁ נָא פְּנֵי אֲדָמָה, הוֹשַׁע נָא רִקְמָה וְקוֹמָה.‏
Please Adonai, protect them all, in the shade of your wings give them refuge.[4] Ps. 36:8. 
Renew the face of the earth, please, save the weave and fullness of life.[5] From אדם ובהימה, the sixth hakafah of Hoshana Rabbah: “הושענא דמות וצלם ורקמה…הושענא זיו ותאר וקומה, הושענא חדוש פני האדמה…” . 

אָנָא ה׳ הַסֵּר אֶת לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשָׂרֵנוּ,‏
וְתֵן לֵב בָּשָׂר בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, וְנֶחֱזֶה אֱלוֹהַּ מִבְּשָׂרֵנוּ.‏
Please Adonai, remove the heart of stone from our flesh,
and set within us a heart of flesh,[6] Ezek. 36:26.  that we may behold the Godly there.[7] Job 19:26. 

תֵן לָנוּ חָכְמָה וְאוֹמֵץ לֵב לִרְפֹּא וְלִשְׂמוֹר עַל גַן הַחַיִים
לְהַצְמִיחוֹ מִתָּחַת הַשָׁמַיִם.‏
Grant us wisdom and courage to heal and watch over this garden of life,
to make it thrive under the heavens.

An “Al Ḥet” prayer based on a composition by R’ Danny Nevins, published 1992 in Lechem Tafayl (a JTS student publication edited by David Seidenberg); revised in 2005 by R’ Nevins; augmented, with new translation and niqud added by R’ David Seidenberg, 2007. The version of R’ Nevin’s “על חטא: For the Sin of Destroying God’s Creation by Rabbi Danny Nevins” above is the version updated in 2008. It has since been further edited and included in the Maḥzor Lev Shalem (p. 267, Rabbinical Assembly, (c) 2010). Rabbi Seidenberg’s transcription with niqud and translation of the 2008 version were first published online at neohasid.org.


1 Gen 1:31.
2 Job 37:13
3 Ps. 104:24.
4 Ps. 36:8.
5 From אדם ובהימה, the sixth hakafah of Hoshana Rabbah: “הושענא דמות וצלם ורקמה…הושענא זיו ותאר וקומה, הושענא חדוש פני האדמה…” .
6 Ezek. 36:26.
7 Job 19:26.

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