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Praying In the Key of Awe

09/23/2014 09:39:28 PM


Repetition, translation, meaning. Length! Obligation! Yearning! Hope. Renewal. Connection.

We careen among these rubrics during these High and Holy Days. Particular passages may be both anticipated and dreaded.

Two alphabetical acrostics take us through an aleph-bet of transgressions, the Ashamnu and Al Het prayers. This device may signal “what we already know of our daily lives.” * But we don’t necessarily relate well to rote repetition, and, even if we do find meaning in the repetitions, the translations may not fully speak to our yearnings or hopes.

To tune our teshuvah more fully to the Key of Awe, all who attend our High Holy Day services are invited to compose a personal Al Het, either a single phrase or a couplet.** In the sanctuary you will find a small box with blank index cards. Take a card and fill it in either here during services, or at home. We’ll integrate our confessions into our recitations during Yom Kippur.

Looking forward to sharing in these sacred times, and the year ahead, with you all.

Shana tova umetukah – to a sweet new year!

Rabbi Liz

*Dr. Jo Milgrom, “Mates and Body Parts: A Whole Sum Take on the Al Chet,” Melton Journal, Fall 1993

**Each phrase in the confessions is structured so: For the wrong that we have done before you by […….] and for the wrong we have done before you by [……]

Sun, January 17 2021 4 Sh'vat 5781