The medieval poem [piyyut] “Today“ ["Ha-Yom"], which we sing on the High Holidays, is one of my favorites. I especially like the traditional tune, although truth to tell our cantor uses a new tune that I find uncomfortable. The familiar is always so enjoyable. The poem focuses on “ today,” “ this day,” which of course is referring to the gravity and holiness of the Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. But I want to use it to refer to every day.
The poem reads in part:
“Strengthen us today
Bless us today
Exult us today
Seek our well being today
Inscribe us for a good life today …"
I want to relate this to the well-known counsel that we should live in the moment. This notion of living in the moment has been around for a very long time and is a staple of the self-improvement culture. It is also a highly respected ideal of the religions of the East. Though it has now become banal in its familiarity, it is one of those ideals that is easily accessible as an ideal but very difficult in the doing.
I was feeling very good this morning and thought if I could only just concentrate on “today” and the feeling that it is a good day, I could avail myself of all the blessings in the poem.