If, as the Talmud tells us, the blasts of the shofar are meant to remind us of crying, (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 33A – specifically of Sisera’s mother – but that is another subject!), then I would offer the following.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t want to raise my children in a home with yelling. And yet, when I slip in a way that’s human and understandable, I fail both myself and my children.
At recent years’ Days of Awe services, I could swear I saw index fingers popping out all over the place – fingers of accusation, not of ownership or responsibility.
On Rosh HaShanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed. But there’s an awful lot that happens in the middle.