The High Holidays are a time to reflect and return to God. There are many prayers that represent the intensity of the day – and this is one of them.
High Holidays Prayer
One of the most well known High Holidays prayer is called “Unetaneh Tokef.” It is a prayer that reflects the sanctity and seriousness of the days. These days are filled with holiness, so the prayers that are recited are holy and important as well.
Here is the text’s translation: (Courtesy of Sefaria.org)
We lend power to the holiness of this day. For it is tremendous and awe filled, and on it your kingship will be exalted, your throne will be established in loving-kindness, and you will sit on that throne in truth.
It is true that you are the one who judges, and reproves, who knows all, and bears witness, who inscribes, and seals, who reckons and enumerates. You remember all that is forgotten. You open the book of records, and from it, all shall be read. In it lies each person’s insignia.
And it Continues…
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed – how many shall pass away and how many shall be born, who shall live and who shall die, who in good time, and who by an untimely death, who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by wild beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by earthquake and who by plague, who by strangulation and who by lapidation, who shall have rest and who wander, who shall be at peace and who pursued, who shall be serene and who tormented, who shall become impoverished and who wealthy, who shall be debased, and who exalted. But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severity of the decree.