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HaKarat HaTov – Recognizing the Good

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

N’ilah is the final service of Yom Kippur. It takes place close to when the sun is setting, after a long day of fasting and spiritual work. It is a service designed to help us walk out of the sanctuary confident in our ability to keep the promises we have made and affect the changes we wish to make.

In Mishkan HaNefesh, one beautiful addition to the N’ilah service is the page of prayers focusing on the practice of HaKarat HaTov – of recognizing the good. After spending all of Yom Kippur reflecting on all the ways we (as individuals, as a synagogue community, as the Jewish people and as a global community) have fallen short in the past year, the practice of HaKarat HaTov allows us some space to realize that we are so much more than just the mistakes we have made. We are also our kinds words and right actions, our love and our compassion, our aspirations for a just world and our yearning for a deeper connection to Judaism and to God.

During the N’ilah service on Yom Kippur in the new Mishkan HaNefesh prayer book we will read:

“We loved. And we wept. We were kind – and spoke thoughtfully.

We were faithful and trusting. We put forth effort.

We were mindful. We embraced. We took delight in the holy books.

We were creative. And we yearned.

We fought for justice – and searched out the good.

We tried our best. And we were attentive.

We did what You commanded us to do.

We found meaning in Torah. And, most of the time, we did what is right.

We proclaimed Your name. And we were accepting.

We were joyful. And we cared” (from Mishkan HaNefesh for Yom Kippur, p. 659).

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