Wednesday, October 04, 2006

על חטא שחטאנו לפניך בקלות ראש

I'll leave the profound Yom Kippur thoughts to other bloggers. Instead, I'll focus on the more trivial and superficial aspects of the holiday. Everyone needs a niche.

1. One thing I like about Yom Kippur is that there is almost no time between waking up and leaving the apartment. On all other mornings I do things like check email, brush my teeth, shower, eat breakfast, check email again, and put on shoes. On Yom Kippur I do none of these things, so there is a sense of transcending the physical world for a day. Along these lines I enjoyed abunaftali's Traditional Yom Kippur Stew, and kept up Bluegrass Pirate's minhag of placing two books on the table under a challah cover as the day's sustenance.

2. I led mincha at the dar, my first time leading YK services. Right before it started, I didn't know how I was physically going to make it through, since my mouth was dry after 23 hours of fasting. It turns out that adrenaline is an amazing thing. The fight-or-flight response did its job. The hardest part (physically) was standing straight with my feet together for the whole repetition (around 40 minutes), as my fast approached 24 hours. I held out, but had difficulty standing through ne'ilah (which I wasn't leading). I have no idea how anyone can lead musaf, which requires standing in one place for 3 hours. How does this work? I suppose the prostration can break things up.

3. This is less amusing as last year's thoughts on the liturgy, but about as significant. The second line of David Broza's song "Yihyeh Tov" is "Ha'aviv chalaf avar lo, mi yodeia im yashuv?" ("The spring has gone away; who knows if it will return?") I always knew that the first half of the line was a through-the-looking-glass reference to Song of Songs 2:11, but just realized this year during the haftarah that the second half was a reference to Jonah 3:9. Who knew that this song was so erudite?


  1. We're mincha buddies!

    The 3 sips of water that I took over YK definitely made mincha a lot easier for me to lead.

    I don't remember if I kept my feet in place. I probably didn't even think of it at the time. Oops.

    What machzor did you use? (I hate the Harlowe. Stupid lack of real machzorim for Penn's Conservative community...)

  2. We used Silverman. Some synagogue got rid of boxes and boxes of them (presumably when they moved on to something newer and shinier).

  3. KOST- if you gusy really want Silvermans, call up half a dozen local conservo shuls. at least one of them will have serval hundered in boxes somwhere they don't mind getting rid of.

    the problem with silverman, as I've said before is taht the english is nerly incomprehensible.
    But consider your high holiday audience beyond the 10-12 year-round regulars. If you're community is somehwta hebrew literate and will only be glancing at the english, all well and good.
    If your community has little hebrew literacy, then that is an aweful lot of hours of people muttering nonsense broken up only by talking and falling asleep.

  4. since it came out a few years ago I have been using the Kol Haneshama Machzor which is beautiful and full of commentary, kavanot, and all sorts of interesting and useful additions. one caveat, it's a bit heavy which is partially a result of using more substantial paper.

    in the interest of full disclosure, i am not an unbiased supporter, i have family ties to some of the editorial staff.

  5. if we're talking about good mahzorim for readers of english, i've come to like the hadesh yameinu, which although hardbound and therefore too heavy to really daven from for those of us with weak wrists, is slightly lighter than the kol haneshama. and offers a different set of interesting things to read. and includes the complete al chet, unlike the harlow. rrr.

  6. Harlow must have assumed that Conservative Jews have fewer sins!