• December 9, 2022
  • 15 5783, Kislev
  • פרשת וישלח

Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers

Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers

The High Holidays, beginning with Selichot the week before Rosh HaShana and continuing through the end of Yom Kippur, introduce prayers that are largely restricted to those times of the year. While the 13 Middot, the Attributes of Mercy, are said at other times, their central recitation is as part of Selichot. The middle blessings of the Mussaf of Rosh haShana, Malchuyot, Zichronot, and Shofarot, tell us about how our Rabbis understood the various blowings of the Shofar, while the Avoda of Yom Kippur, the liturgical poem that recalls the High Priest’s service, is central to our experience of that day. The course will study each of these three prayers, looking to understand how they can enrich and expand our experience of this vital season of the year.

January 1, 1970 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers: Lesson 4
Class description

For this, the final class, we will look at the Yom Kippur prayers, particularly the avodah, the recounting of how the HIgh Priest used to serve in the Temple on Yom Kippur, a service that procured atonement for the entirety of the Jewish people. Time permitting, we will also discuss the Mincha service, in particular the Torah reading and the Maftir Yonah, the Book of Jonah.

September 4, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers: Lesson 1
Class description

The centerpiece of Rosh haShanah prayers is the middle part of mussaf, where we blow shofar accompanied by the three blessings of Malchuyot, Zichronot, and Shofarot. The verses we recite as part of these blessings are meant to flesh out the themes of the blessings themselves. By reviewing these verses in-depth in the first two classes, we hope to enrich our understanding of what we intend to accomplish by saying them, and how they differentiate different blasts of the shofar from each other.

Handouts
September 11, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers: Lesson 2
Class description

A continuation of last week– depending on our progress– we will finish our study of the Malchuyot, Zichronot, and Shofarot blessings, seeing how the verses guide us in what we should be thinking and feeling during these recitations and ceremonies. If we finish early, we will also study the psalm that we recite before blowing Shofar, to see how that leads in to our performance of the mitsvah.

September 18, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers: Lesson 3
Class description

By the time of this class, even Ashkenazic Jews will have started reciting selichot, the special prayers for forgiveness said in the days leading up to Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur. We will discuss the centerpiece of those selichot, the recitation of the 13 Middot. Common custom often treats them as words we merely have to mouth in order to attain their value, but we will suggest a more rationalistic approach, explaining how understanding what we are saying would make these words, like all other prayers, that much more effective.

Handouts
May 20, 2014 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Not Just Words: Rethinking the High Holiday Prayers: Lesson 1
Class description

INTRODUCTION TO SEFER VAYIKRA: In this class we will give an introduction to the Sefer and the course. We will see basic structure and placement of the book of VaYikra in the 5 chumashim.

Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein has semicha from YU (RIETS) and a PhD from Harvard. He has worked in shul rabbinate, high school and adult education. He is the author of both fiction and non-fiction, most recently "As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience". He lives in Riverdale, NY.