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.)
Tekiah! Teruah! Shevarim! Tekiah Gedolah!
In the traditional liturgy, the special character of each holiday is particularly conveyed by the piyyutim (hymns, liturgical poems) that are recited or chanted on that day. Most of these piyyutim have been omitted in Reform liturgies since the nineteenth century, out of a sense that their Hebrew diction is too arcane and their theology too medieval. Yet, some of these poems have routinely been retained in Reform High Holy Day prayer books, particularly for Yom Kippur.
The start of baseball season reminds me that as a young boy in Southern California in 1965, I thought only one thing when I heard the word “hero”: Sandy Koufax.
Literally, “master of t’kiah,” meaning “one who sounds the shofar.”
Literally, “between a person and God.” Refers to the religious or ritual mitzvot, or sacred obligations. The Mishnah teaches that the day of Yom Kippur atones for sins between a person and God.
Literally, “between a person and their fellow.” Refers to ethical, moral, or social mitzvot that govern relationships between and among people.
A Hebrew term for “sin.” Cheit is a Hebrew archery term meaning “missing the mark.” A section of High Holiday liturgy is the Al Cheit, a confession of ways in which we “missed the mark” during the past year.
Literally, “blast” or “blowing of a horn;” it is a note of the shofar call.