Several times during the year, the Jewish calendar places joyous and challenging holidays near each other. What lessons we take from this juxtaposition?
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 people with hearts of stone; there are stones with human hearts.
-The Wall, by Yossi Gamzu
Guila remembers holding the prayer book for her father, who had cerebral palsy, every Yom Kippur. "What many might imagine to have been a dreary religious obligation was, for me, a highly emotional, touching experience."
Although we may not think of Judaism as a religion of confession, we often are called to profess our sins – privately, between oneself and God.
As a young girl, I was very compliant. If I was told to do something, I generally did it; if I was told not to do something, I usually didn’t. Of course, there were exceptions – ah, the motorcycle ride – but I think of myself as a rule follower.