Blessed Is She, Blessed Are We

See our suffering, for we have sinned
and forgive us, our King, forgive us our sins
Blessed is He who sees our suffering
Blessed is He who forgives our sins

See our grievance, for we understand
and grieve with us, Goddess, grieve with our hearts

minds understanding King’s absolution
hearts comprehending King’s retribution

Blessed is She who heals in our grief.
Blessed are We who suffer and prosper from
full comprehension.

בּינה שׁלמה המרבּה בענינו [word-for-word translation: intelligence, complete, that has an abundance, in our suffering] [poetic translation: complete intelligence that proliferates our suffering]

Notes: I created this blackout poem by request. A friend asked me to blackout the section of the amidah that begins “slach lanu,” forgive us. The prayer is one of her most-hated, and I quite understand why. It forces the speaker, the person who’s praying, to make claims about themself and their sinful nature. In the mode of prayer we practiced in our communities, we also “klapped” twice during this prayer – we banged our chests with our fists in remorse as we said “we have sinned” and “we have transgressed.” The full text of the prayer is below, with a translation.

The poem accompanying the blackout is intended to echo the form of the amidah prayers – there are 19 of them, each one no longer than five to seven lines. Most begin with a request (“forgive us,” “heal us,” etc) and end with a form of “blessed are you, lord” (blessed are you, lord, gracious one who pardons abundantly,” “blessed are you, lord, healer of the sick of his nation Israel”).

סלח לנוּ אבינוּ כּי חטאנוּ, מחל לנוּ מלכּנוּ כּי פשׁענוּ, כּי אל טוֹב וסלּח אתּה. בּרוּך אתּה יי, חנּוּן המרבּה לסלח
Translation from Pardon us, our Father, for we have sinned; forgive us, our King, for we have transgressed; for You are a good and forgiving G‑d. Blessed are You L-rd, gracious One who pardons abundantly.

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