Today’s Daily Inspiration features Rabbi Grushcow reading “The Sunset Prayer,” a poem by Jacob Glatstein. This poem was originally written in Yiddish, and was translated by Ruth Whitman.

Then, for kids, Rabbi Grushcow reads a favourite bedtime book which reflects similar themes: Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger.

Rabbi Grushcow writes:

I love this “juicy bit of praying” in the form of a poem: “The Sunset Prayer” by Jacob Glatstein. Right now, our days can easily run into each other, and we lose track of time. Shabbat can help ground us every week; prayer, poetry, mindfulness, meditation, and other practices can help ground us every day. This particular poem gives a spiritual perspective to the experience of reaching the end of every day.

A similar message comes through in the children’s book, Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger. Its gentle rhythm and words can help even the youngest among us take a breath and reflect at the end of the day, and see each day as precious and unique.

Praying the Sunset Prayer

I’ll let you in on a secret
about how one should pray the sunset prayer.
It’s a juicy bit of praying,
like strolling on grass,
nobody’s chasing you, nobody hurries you.
You walk toward your Creator
with gifts in pure, empty hands.
The words are golden
their meaning is transparent,
it’s as though you’re saying them
for the first time.

If you don’t catch on
that you should feel a little elevated,
you’re not praying the sunset prayer.
The tune is sheer simplicity,
you’re just lending a helping hand
to the sinking day.
It’s a heavy responsibility.
You take a created day
and you slip it
into the archive of life,
where all our lived-out days are lying together.

The day is departing with a quiet kiss.
It lies open at your feet
while you stand saying the blessings.
You can’t create anything yourself, but you
can lead the day to its end and see
clearly the smile of its going down.

See how whole it all is,
not diminished for a second,
how you age with the days
that keep dawning,
how you bring your lived-out day
as a gift to eternity.

— Jacob Glatstein
Translated by Ruth Whitman