Heschel, Radical Amazement
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Heschel, Radical Amazement
Unetaneh Tokef is a medieval prayer, of unknown authorship, recited in the Musaf Service of both Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. Unetaneh Tokef affirms our own mortality, asking, “Who shall live and who shall die?” In it, we state that through teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer), and tzedakah (acts of justice) we can transform our destiny and give meaning to our lives.
We shall ascribe holiness...
Salutation to the Dawn
Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of achievement,
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a...
The meal is coming to a close. But we’re not quite done yet. One of the most important parts of Rosh Hashanah is sounding the shofar. A ram’s horn makes a primal cry, and it speaks to something deep in our soul, waking up something inside us that was dormant, or asleep.
If you have a shofar, blow it now! If not, make some noise some other way. Belt out a song or try a primal scream. Do what you need to do to...
We all have thoughts and feelings from the past year that we’d like to get rid of or forget. During tashlich, we take some breadcrumbs and sprinkle them into a body of water, symbolically ridding ourselves of the sins and bad feelings that have been weighing us down. Now we can go into the new year with a clean slate.
The shehechiyanu blessing thanks the creator for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this day. This blessing is said at momentous occasions, and tonight counts because it is the night when we can finally look back on the whole previous year. We made it! Whether bitter or sweet, difficult or fun, tonight we celebrate and feel grateful for making it to today, and to this table to reflect with people we...
A beautiful ceremony marks the end of Shabbat on Saturday evening. This ending ritual is called Havdalah, which means separationor distinction in Hebrew. The Torah teaches that God created the world by making distinctions, first between light anddarkness, next between water and empty space, then between earth and water. The final distinction made in that week of creation was between regular time and holy time. Just as...
The World of Asiyah - Fruits and nuts with a hard outside and an edible inside
[Pour a glass of white wine, say the blessing, and drink half or more.]
Although seemingly inedible from the outside, each of the foods eaten at the level of Asiyah, when peeled or shelled, hold gifts that transcend their outward appearance. Like winter, where everything lays dormant and hidden, these...
The Yamim Noraim (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) are here. We’re tasked with reflecting on our lives and practicing teshuvah (returning). Through teshuvah we examine our actions over the past year, seek forgiveness from ourselves, others, and the Divine and dedicate ourselves to do better next year. These sacred days provide an opportunity to ask ourselves the hardest questions and explore all the...
No matter what temper tantrum or adolescent rebellion marked the week that is past, we take a moment to place our hands on our children’s heads and to offer them words of pure love.
The blessing for boys derives from Jacob’s blessing to his grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, who are the first pair of siblings in the Bible who love each other rather than fight each other. The blessing for girls invokes the memory...
ASK YOURSELF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS
Like a mini-spiritual workout! You don’t have to answer every question, but tackling a few is impactful.
1) When do I feel that my life is most meaningful?
2) What would bring me more happiness than anything else in the world?
3) What are my three most significant achievements in the past year?
4) What are my biggest mistakes in the past year?