Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
An environmental Al Chet
It's really time to include sins against the environment and against life on the planet in our Yom Kippur liturgy. This prayer is based on the one written by Danny Nevins when we were both in reb school. (He's now the dean of that school.) It was published in lechem tafayl—a great Jewish zine (actually it was pre-zine, but post-samizdat, call it what you will). I've added some new elements to his 2005 revised version, including ecological tweaks and textual references to Sukkot and to some ecologically important verses (e.g., the line "Renew the face of the earth, please, save the weave and fullness of life" which comes from the fifth hakafah of Hoshana Rabbah), while Danny's is sparser and perhaps more elegant.
You can use this prayer (or part of it) anywhere in the Al Chet confessional sections of the Yom Kippur Machzor. Both versions are found below.
Download the NeoHasid version of Al Chet – For the sin of destroying God's creation (reload page if link doesn't work).
Download the Davkawriter file – Important: If you change the file, make sure "neohasid.org" and the url for this page appear on it, and send us a digital copy.
Download Rabbi Nevins' 2005 version, now also hosted on neohasid.org.
If you make copies of the prayer, please send a donation to support this site.
Here's the English translation for the NeoHasid version:
Eternal God, You created earth and heavens with mercy,
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006