I began my journey to Judaism nervously. Unlike the Charedim (ultra-Orthodox) who are anxious before the word of God, I was anxious in the uncertainty of the future.
In the game “Truth-or-Dare,” I choose “truth” nearly every time. I’m not much of a dare-taker. Thus, if you and I were playing “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days,” I would confess that the prayer Avinu Malkeinu provides me with both my second-favorite liturgical moment and my second-greatest pet peeve of the year’s liturgy. (Note: Even though I may have to repent for it, I will leave you in suspense about my favorite liturgical moment and my greatest liturgical pet peeve. Also, “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days” is fictional, although I hereby declare copyright in the event Mattel or Hasbro comes knocking at my door.)
As we turn to the start of a new Jewish year, perhaps we can be inspired by the all-too-familiar customer satisfaction survey to evaluate our spiritual lives.
As the High Holidays approach, once again I am reading S.Y. Agnon’s Days of Awe. As much as the book means to me, though, the person who gave it to me means more.
Even as Shabbat is a day of rest, it also has the power to agitate, and thus is a call to action, a call for us to respond to the injustices we see in our world.
In theory, no one wants to be that person who can’t let go, who refuses the request for forgiveness. But is it really possible, or even right, to forgive everything?
I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between their protest and our Havdalah services – and the deep differences those parallels represent.