Torah cannot be Torah without us; it needs us. Therefore, we must read it, we must study it, we must discuss it and debate it. We must carry it. We must dance among its verses, discovering ourselves in its chapters.
The Unetaneh Tokef has a long list of ways that people die, often violently, a way of shocking us into realizing our mortality. The original prayer, however, can be traumatizing. This version seeks a more empathetic approach to mortality.
Rabbi Max Chaiken, our Ten Minutes of Torah commentator for the Book of Deuteronomy, is the associate rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in Los Angeles, CA. We talk to him about his Jewish journey and the ideas behind his commentaries.