The beginning of a new year is filled with mixed emotions. In looking back on the previous year we focus on our failures, missed opportunities and the precious moments that slipped by. At the same time, the High Holy days provide us with a new year full of hope and renewal.
The rituals and symbols of Rosh Hashanah wonderfully capture and express these mixed feelings. The shofars’ blasts cry out for the year gone by. The shofar urges us to wake up, look inside ourselves and to recognize our habitual shortcomings. By beginning the process of introspection in the month of Elul we can recite the prayers of the High Holy Days with a sense of seriousness and urgency.
But Rosh Hashanah is more than just somber prayers in a minor key. Gathered as families around the dining room table, we dip challah and apples into honey. The sweet honey reminds us of the many pleasures we experienced in the course of the previous year. By reciting special blessings we ask God to grant us a new year of health and happiness.
Yom Kippur lacks the shofar and the festival meal of Rosh Hashanah, but its rituals are no less powerful, its symbols no less evocative.
During the course of the day’s extended prayers, one symbol is repeated over and over again. As we recite the vidui (confessional), it is customary to stand slightly bowed and to lightly beat our hearts with our fisted right hand. Bent over under the weight of burdens and pain, we express our humility. Admitting that our hearts turned astray, we beat our chest to express the pain we caused ourselves and others. When done for the first time, the customs of beating our chests may feel awkward and embarrassing. But it helps us better enter the words of our prayers and the mood of the day.
Your Temple Board of Directors is pleased to announce that all High Holy Day tickets are free of charge. Guests of member congregants as well as non-members within the community are welcomed and invited, free of charge, to join us in prayer. To receive complimentary tickets, guests must complete our High Holy Day Ticket Request found HERE.
Please see the Temple High Holy Days Schedule for a list of dates, times, and locations of services. Join us at 5779 Celebration Continues for information about Sukkot, Simchat Torah and Shemini Atzeret.