In Pirkei Avot, the rabbis wrote, “Mitzvah goreret mitzvah, averah goreret averah,” one mitzvah (commandment/good deed) leads to another mitzvah, and one transgression leads to another transgression.
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To devote ourselves to an accurate accounting of the soul, it is customary to refrain from five specific activities related to our bodies on Yom Kippur.
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.)
During the 10 days of repentance and especially on Yom Kippur, we struggle with ourselves, shedding our flaws and the parts of our spirit that detract from our holiness.
We want you to come to High Holiday services, but we want you to come back, too -- when it’s less crowded and when we can welcome you and show you what we’re all about.