As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.
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.)
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.
Literally the “great” t’kiah, this is the longest, deepest call of the shofar heard as the final shofar blast on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Literally, “shout;” one of the shofar blasts. It is composed of a series of nine short blasts.