Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lives hanging in the balance


Our fate hangs in the balance during these Days of Awe, the Yamim Noraim, in more than only  the traditional spiritual sense this year.

The days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur are also called the Ten Days of Repentance, a time of serious introspection where we recognize our wrongs of the past year and go about trying to right those wrongs before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, hoping to be sealed in God's Book of Life for the coming year.
Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, Friday-Saturday, this year. 

In the stirring words of  the ancient liturgy:

"On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed
how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created;
who will live and who will die;
who will die at his predestined time and who before his time;
who by water and who by fire,
who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst,
who by storm, who by plague,
who by strangulation, and who by stoning.
Who will rest and who will wander,
who will live in harmony and who will be harried,
who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer,
who will be impoverished and who will be enriched,
who will be degraded and who will be exalted.

[tshuvah, tfilah, tzedaka]
Remove the evil of the Decree!

  This means that by our re-turning, praying, and doing acts of kindness and charity we can change everything, even change God's mind and bring his mercy upon us!


  1. It's a good time to think about using this moment to make a change, do a good deed or think deeply about our motivations for our actions. I'll do my best, Dina.

  2. Because of the original words in the machzor, I always find Leonard Cohen's song haunting:

    And who by fire, who by water,
    Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
    Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
    Who in your merry merry month of may,
    Who by very slow decay,
    And who shall I say is calling?

  3. You said it: stirring words...


Thanks for your comment!
Comment moderation is on so I will see any new comments even on older posts.