I know two people who lost their lives in the past month in car pedestrian accidents. They woke up in the morning, just like I did today. They got dressed, just like I did today. They left their home, just like I did today. And they are never going back. That, essentially, is what the Unetaneh Tokef prayer is about. It’s powerful and painful words remind us of the transience of life and the need to never take a moment for granted. There is no guarantee.
If I had to summarize this prayer in one word, it would be- “now.” Whatever it is that needs to be done, whatever it is that we desire to do- NOW is the time. Travel- NOW. Love- NOW. Learn- NOW. Reconcile- NOW. Pray- NOW. Connect- NOW.
Who in their time, who before their time? Who will have peace? Anything can happen. Anything has happened. Anything will happen. The only moment that we are guaranteed is right now. AS we join together in the haunting words of the Unetaneh Tokef prayer, we must look deep within and answer for ourselves- what are we doing with this amazing gift, right NOW?