Rabbi Berland’s Prayer for the Trait of Holy Shame

Translated to English From Tefilah L’Ani: Leket Tefilot u’Vakashot

Prayer for the Trait of Holy Shame

Ribono Shel Olam – Master of the World, King of Glory, Who sees the insult of the insulted, Who has compassion for the honor of His creatures, Who has mercy on all of His works — have compassion, mercy, and pity, with Your true pity and mercy on the greatness of my disgrace, embarrassment, and shame [which are] extremely great, without measure, value, or number, as You alone know my disgrace, shame, and embarrassment.

What shall I say?  What shall I speak?  How can my face ascend before the King?  How will I be able to hide from my shame?  How will I be able to conceal my face in the world of truth from my embarrassment?  How will I be able to raise my face, blackened more than the brims of a cauldron before You.

Hashem, my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, how will I raise up my face before my forefathers who I came to the world through?  How will I raise up my face before my masters and teachers who instructed me on the straight and true path.  And I didn’t spare their great and holy honor, and I degraded myself and also them, as it were.  Who can save me then from my great shame?  Who can stand before my terrible embarrassment?  How can I find for myself a place to flee and to hide there because of my embarrassment, shame, and disgrace – “What shall I answer to the One Who has sent me?” (II Shmuel 24:13), because You endowed me with so much good at every time, every hour, and every moment materially and spiritually, and You would hint to me with so many types of allusions, and You have summoned me [to be] next to You, Blessed One, with all types of appeals, and You have inclined Your hand to me, and alluded to me, from close by and from afar, to draw me close, in Your mercy, with very great closeness with so many different hints and appeals, without measure and count, every day and every hour mamash, that by the measure of one illumination which You shine to me Your G-dliness, Blessed One, and Your holy allusions and appeals, it was fitting for me to never transgress Your will even with the slightest movement.  And even over a slight, insignificant movement which isn’t fitting, G-d forbid, completely according to Your will, it was fitting for me to fall on my face and lie down in my shame and to cover myself in my embarrassment, until my soul would almost go out, G-d forbid, and that I shouldn’t be able to raise up my face at all.  All the more so, and all the more so that You would shine to me many illuminations without measure.  How many aspects and how many incarnations You incarnated with me, and how many reasons You revolved with me – good and not good reasons, and everything was for my good, in order to allude to me through them to return to You.

With how many languages of affection You called to me, and with how many different hints You alluded to me to draw close to You, and it’s not enough that I didn’t have compassion on myself to draw close to You in truth, and to be according to Your good will completely, I was even as if removing the shame from my face, I rebelled against You with contempt, with rebellion and misappropriation, and I caused many, many blemishes.

Therefore, I have come before You, Hashem my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, and I spread my hands out to You, and raise my eyes to Your holy dwelling – “To You I have raised my eyes, Dweller in the heavens” (Tehilim 123:1), that You summon and send me true words in my mouth and on my tongue so that I can placate and lure You with them, that You will return Your face to me and endow me and save me from shame, disgrace, and degradation from now and forever, and You will be to my aid and endow me with the light of holy fear and shame which are drawn from the light of the seven days, from the concealed light which preceded the world.

Master of the whole world, King, exalted and lofty G-d, Creator of all the worlds for the sake of fear and shame in the aspect of BREiShYT [In the beginning] – [which are the letters of] YaREi BoSheT [Fear-Shame].  Please, forgive a sinner and blemisher like me, in whose iniquities he removed from himself the image of G-d and the light of shame and fear.  Please, have compassion and mercy upon me, because through my many sins my heart has become stupefied, and all my senses and organs, to the point that I’m no longer ashamed or embarrassed, and all my blood is boiling within me for every forbidden thing and forbidden thought.  And all the disgraces in the world wouldn’t be enough to cleanse and purify the blood and to atone for the sins in which I have stumbled, even for the most minor sin, all the more so for my iniquities which have multiplied beyond count, and for my sins which have multiplied beyond number, more than the hairs on my head, greater than the sand of the sea, and heavier than the dust of the earth.  And even if all the lakes were ink, and the trees pens, and people scribes, they couldn’t write, in all the days of the world, even a tiny, tiny bit of the greatness of my sins, iniquities, rebellious sins, and deliberate sins, which don’t stop for even a tiny moment, rather they multiply from day to day, and renew each time the power of the kingdom of evil.

Please, let us merit to return from the evil of our iniquities and to be embarrassed by the murkiness of our deeds, to confess our rebellious sins and to draw onto us the loftiest shame, which is the root and genesis of the entire creation, an aspect of Yarei Boshet – Fear-Shame, and let us merit to be ashamed and embarrassed every moment and second, and from the power of the fear and shame to praise You with every single breath.

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