At the conclusion of Yom Kippur years ago, I attended a break-the-fast at the home of old friends. I loaded my plate with a bagel, lox, and vegetables and ambled over to a conversational group, where I stood munching and listening.
When I think of the word “hope,” one sentence comes to mind: Hope is a dangerous thing.
I don't remember where or when I first heard the statement, and I'm fairly sure it was intended as a warning, but the idea has stuck with me.
Hope is a dangerous thing.
A Major League Baseball committee proposed new rules last month for using instant replay to correct the mistakes of umpires – and I’ve been thinking about how much easier things would be if we could just apply those rules to everyday life.
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.)
There are many elements which make the High Holy Days a unique experience. Often, congregations swell to double or triple their usual size, the musical settings of even common liturgy are different, and some might alter their dress by wearing either traditionally all-white garments or more formal wear than they would sport on Shabbat. Some congregations even have unique garments to dress their Torah scrolls in white.
We asked clergy across North America which music, books, art, movies and more help them get into a reflective state of mind as they gear up for the High Holidays.
Sure enough, last week I saw the first chatzav flower of the season – which was actually sort of surprising, as it's been several years since the last leap year, so the holidays are "early" in the solar year this year.
Most rabbis spend the summer months preparing for the High Holydays. This summer, my High Holiday preparation included travelling to Lucknow, India, with 16 rabbis representing Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Renewal Jewish communities across America.