Reflections on Ritual and Prayer
From the desk of our Ritual Director Gordon Goldman
- IT TAKES SEVERAL READINGS TO GET THE FULL MEANING
INQUIRE, STUDY DEEPLY, STUDY REPEATEDLY
Why do we read the entire Torah in annual cycles? Every year, starting and ending at Simchat Torah we read, in the same order, the same words from the five books of Moses. Is there not some concern the repetition will become rote or even boring? Might we not just stop ...
- A QUESTION OF SEQUENCE
A QUESTION OF SEQUENCE
A friend pointed out an interesting anomaly in a portion of our liturgy. There are a number of places in the service, notably early in the Torah service where we say “HaShem Melech, HaShem Moloch HaShem Yimloch la’olam va’ed, God is King, God was King, God will be king for ever ...
- THE CHANGES TO THE AMIDAH FOR THE HIGH HOLIDAY SEASON
THE CHANGES TO THE AMIDAH FOR THE HIGH HOLIDAY SEASON
Each year, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, there are changes and additions to the weekday and the holiday and Shabbat Amidah. There are changes to all of the first three blessings. To one of the thirteen weekday petitions, and to the last two. Taken together, ...
- MI SHEBERACH
The prayer we call Mi Sheberach, because it starts with those words, is usually recited as a request of healing. The opening ...
- SOUNDING THE SHOFAR DURING ELUL
SHOFAR BLOWING DURING ELUL
During the month of Elul, the last Hebrew month before Rosh Hashanah, the Shofar is sounded at every morning service except Shabbat. In our congregation we also blow shofar at night, a custom we developed for congregants who, because of work schedules etc., could not make the morning minyan. The sounding of ...
- DEUTERONOMY AS A METAPHOR FOR GROWTH
DEUTERONOMY AS METAPHOR
The book of D’varim (Deuteronomy) can be looked upon as a metaphor for personal growth. Let’s start with a look at Moses at the burning bush in Exodus, chapter 3. Moses has, rather impetuously, killed an Egyptian taskmaster and had to flee to Midian. Now he is tending his father-in-law’s sheep in ...
- OBSERVING THE FAST DAYS
THE FAST DAYS
I was thinking about the rituals commemorating the humiliating defeat of Israel/Judea culminating with the destruction of the first and second Temples first by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and later the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Our rituals concerning national calamity involve scriptural readings, changes to the prayer service ...