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Last class - class 16 - 6.3.09

[got bumped off the call as soon as R' Sami started speaking]

- the book about Kol Nidre?

This one I'll put into our public chat window. If you do a google book search you'll find that some of it is [muted]

"Custody of the Tongue:" http://alephholidayliturgyclass.wikispaces.com/Custody+of+the+Tongue

He uses one very technical word twice, which is the word signify. What does he mean?

- to carry a symbol

- give meaning to

What do you mean by that?

- illuminate what's already there

- it stands for something else, the sign stands for something

What do you mean?

- In the Catholic liturgy, e.g., the bread stands for Jesus' body.

I want to take a minute here. If you read Hoffman's "The Art of Public Prayer," first edition published by the Pastoral Press, there's a long chapter on signs and symbols where he basis his analysis significantly on Jung's theory. The point which he makes is that there are things you need to explain and things that you don't. I could explain to you that I'm going to introduce a new gesture that looks like that, and when I do that I want you all to stand up & turn around once and sit down. Or I could say, when I hold up a purple piece of material I want everybody to do something, or a pink one I want everybody to stop. When I do those things it's a new definition. There isn't any particular reason. OTOH, if I shake a fist at you and move my face in a certain way, I don't have to explain to you that when I do that I am indicating to you that I am displeased going on angry. Hoffman, following Jung, would say that whenI need to explain what something means, we're speaking of a sign. When we encounter something that automatically and of itself elicits immediate response, Jung would say that that is a symbol.

So when Hovda here says "The clear but no doubt unintended implication is that the rite itself in hopelessly obscure and without capacity to signify," he is saying that when a presider explains very carefully what is to happen in a liturgical event, they're doing that because they think that the liturgy does not any longer effectively carry symbolic power. There might be moments when that analysis is correct. I would not support the view that there is never any need for any explanation. But to make an obvious point almost all Jewish people resonate to the experience of being closer to a sefer Torah. It is egregiously unnecessary to say, when we take a Torah out of the ark, "This is our sacred text, written by hand, goes back to Sinai, the written form of an ancient covenant which may preexist creation," etc. You don't need to do that. Taking out a Torah and calling people to it evokes its own symbolic power that does not need to be adorned, explained, or enhanced.

That doesn't mean there aren't many things worth studying w/ people about a Torah! But you don't have to explain it every time. You don't have to explain the sounding of the shofar. We don't have to explain every melody, every time the white cover or the white kittel comes out, and so on. If you read carefully Hovda is not saying there is no place for any clerical tongue; what he does say is, choose your words carefully. Choose your words artfully. Use words sparingly with the quality of imagery and poetry that you did in the divre tefilah that you prepared.

My main hope in giving this text is that it gives you a piece of a theoretical substructure for what I think all of you grasped intuitively.

*

Today: dvar tefilah on l'el orech din and ki anu amecha. Also presentation on seder ha-avodah and d'var tefilah on ya'aleh. And ptach lanu sha'ar. And avinu malkeinu.

- and Shoshanna put a thing on the wiki on mareh kohen: http://alephholidayliturgyclass.wikispaces.com/Mareh+Kohen

- and Shulamit has a presentation on 5 megillot

Let's start with the items which are shared between R"H and Y"K. There are 3 items that I want to look at, and then we can leave R"H behind us and move fully into Y"K. Let me ask first: talk to us about l'el orech din.

*

Shulamit: tried to take 2-3 minutes very seriously!

(L'El Orech Din is a piyyut that in the Koren and Silverman it comes after Adonai melech/malach/yimloch piyyut, in shacharit, followed by the kedusha.)

L'el Orech Din, let us proclaim and affirm that the sovereignty of the Eternal judges with mercy. May our own resistance to seeing and being seen deeply soften. May the raw & fragile places within us be soothed as we learn to temper our own jugement in light of the divine way of seeking healing and justice through judgement.

*

I want to applaud your great gift for finding a way with enormous brevity to say something that immediately goes very deeply.

D'var tefilah on avinu malkeinu - Cindy

[already typed, so I just sat back & listened]

*

- I had never thought of that piyyut in the sense that Cindy mentioned, of balancing the two parts of ourselves, compassionate parent & strict sovereign

One item, particularly given that focal point, that I would like to ask your input on is: what do y'all think about the alternation of the introductory phrase avinu malkeinu and imenu horeinu or imenu malkateinu or other similar structures?

- a lot of it depends on where you are, in terms of what the community will bear; in some communities using the alternative transl is very important. I've used Reb Marcia's drash on the letters m"l"ch as a new way of reframing what melech means.

- to hear different words, especially with that melody that I love so much, is jarring for me - and if it's difficult for me, so much the more so for the average congregant

- it's been very liberating for me to put those feminine words into my mouth & to feel that it's also possible, to announce it as a possibility; we can use diff words at the same time, even

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer; it depends on context. But I want to leave the thought - a few people say that it is jarring & difficult, jolts you out of a comfortable rhythm & routine. This is hearsay, but it's a good one, I heard it from my wife who heard it from Marshall Meyer z"l when Karen was at HHD services at BJ one year. There was a classmate of Marshall's, a renowned Conservative rabbi leading part of the service together with him, and Marshall used a gender-neutral adaptation of one of the prayers and then had a public discussion on the bimah w/ his colleague. His colleague said, how can you do this, it's not faithful to the original prayer! Marshall said, you're right, the English sucks, nothing to do with what the author of the piyyut intended, but: either you're serious about teh venture of prayer or you're not. If you take it seriously, and you're willing to put your life on the line as our Hasidic friends do, do it like it means something. Even if you wind up with crappy English and re-adapting texts, if that makes it work -- if that makes it something that people can enter into more passionately -- then maybe you've got to do it even if it's clumsy or even if you personally don't like it.

That conversation has stayed with me a long time.

In terms of artistic renderings: be aware that Barbara Streisand has a recording of the Janowski Avinu Malkeinu on her cd called Higher Ground, it's an attention-getter.

I want to say a little word about creative liturgy at the HHD. We opened this the last time, I shared with you some of the rewrites of malkhuyot, zichronot, and shofarot that I had prepared.

There's moments where what's printed in our traditional machzorim -- mountains of pages! Piles of prayerbooks, some filled with trad prayers, some with a creative version of this, a poem or reading on that, and supplementary readings. Those tend to be the categories that we work with.

I want all of you to think not only in terms of "is there an interesting creative reading," "is there an interesting alternative paragraph that I could use." e.g., I prepared an alternative zichronot. You have the building-blocks of the machzor with alternative pathways that you can take through it. The thing that is harder to conceptualize but which I believe we have not sufficiently explored is the creation of an entirely new liturgical unit. To give much credit, if any of you have the Reform machzor -- one of the things that they did in it, which Hoffman notes in one of his commentaries, I think was really groundbreaking.

If you look at the section beginning on p. 359 in Gates of Repentance, the UAHC HHD machzor, this is a very creative service on the nature of humanity and returning. It does include a couple of traditional texts, but from where it starts on page 359 through p. 391, there's really very little traditional rubric. There are some psalms, a couple of piyyutim, but it is not contextualized. No Torah reading. No recognizable liturgical framework that you can hang this upon. You can like it and feel that it speaks to your neshama, or you can feel it is dull and dreary, but I commend it to you for reflection not on that detail level but at the one-step-back meta-level that they created a new liturgical entity.

They rightly sensed that the Y"K liturgy is so wrong, and the amidah structure with vidui, if you do it 4x during the day instead of 5, are there really very many people who are going to be devastated? OTOH, if one explores new directions are there people who will be perhaps engaged who we otherwise might not have anticipated?

- my question is, who are you going to be serving?

In a context where you believe that it would be extraordinarily troubling to people not to include all 5 trad services, then maybe you simply include something created additionally in addition to the 5 services. But there are certainly people who are well-served by stepping outside the matbeah.

- it's become common for synagogues to have optional meditation services on afternoon of Y"K

- it seems to me that this is different from, say, a meditation gathering or a study session on Y"K; this is meant to be davened-together, aloud, as a liturgical experience

Agreed. Meditation and study sessions are laudable but are well-traveled paths. But not everybody's a silent meditator and not everybody's a studier. So the fact that this is a liturgy - I'd give this particular liturgy a B-minus, it was put together in the 70s and that shows, I don't like the responsive readings or the caliber/quality of the English, they could have chosen better poetry. But I draw it to everybody's attention more for the fact that it exists than to hold it up as an exemplar. I believe most of us in this circle could do better, but the fact that it's here, and the fact that this is something we do not do as much as we could, is a lot.

The one thing that I put together, and I don't want to go through it in any extensive detail, in the package that all of you save one now have, was the healing service. Which is also a pretty well-trodden pathway.

- I'm not sure who the 'we' is that's not deviating enough from the machzor; I've been to a Renewal Y"K service where there weren't two notes of nusach until 4 in the afternoon when they started musaf! There was so much deviation that that was really disturbing.

I would likewise be disturbed by hearing or encountering very little of traditional nusach, either nusach qua nusach or nusach in terms of traditional text. I think the question all of us should rightly be wrestling with is the one of balance. But even in Renewal there is a tyranny of the printed page of the machzor, "you've got to do this, this, and this," and surprisingly to me, it stifles a bit of the real creative spirit. Particularly on a day when everybody is willing to allocate and really give, or be ready to share, so much of their time together in community ritual time/space, I believe that we serve ourselves well by being ready to look a little substantially outside the box as well as deepening our connction to the elements in the box.

- when do we allow the power of something to be what it is, unto itself; and when do we tweak and twirl, or even give a kavanah to set the stage

We have alternative texts, niggunim, which I see as adornments, hiddur mitzvah, ways of beautifying the traditional machzor. And we have the capacity to sit down and start from scratch. It's a freedom that I urge us to give ourselves. As we see, our friends in the Reform movement have grasped it bravely.

Turning now to the pieces of Y"K that we've not looked at together.

We've talked about K"N and vidui, which are 2 core elements.

*d'var tefilah on ya'aleh - Cynthia*

Ya'aleh tachanuneinu is a piyut whose author is unknown. It's modeled on Lev 23:32, likens Y"K to Shabbat - a sabbath of complete rest for you, etc. "At evening from evening to evening."

Each stanza has 3 tropes: that our prayers arrive to God at nightfall, that they come before God at morning, and that they appear to God at nightfall at the end of neilah.

The purpose of slichot in general and this piyyut in particular is to seek God's forgiveness. So at the point when we would ordinarily be packing up to head home, tonight we add the service of slichot which we have been saying daily since R"H.

The opening piyyut is ya'aleh tachanuneinu: may our supplications rise up, and may we all find the forgiveness that we seek.

*end*

- I like the last sentence! that was beautiful

- I would like to add that this is not ordinarily a part in the service where I would add a dvar tefilah! I might do one after this first piyut but not going in to the service.

Can you say why?

- at least in the congregations where I've been a serious attendee, this is a really well-known prayer. Most of the congregation can just join in. So rather than interrupting the flow, or even joking as I did "ordinarily we'd be packing to go home now," would interrupt how the evening has gone. In between this piyyut and the next one -- explain after you've done it what you've just done, feels more like it fits, to me.

- I feel like I'm missing something about this prayer

- I have more info about the prayer that I didn't share --

Post it.

...Any of these texts can be an opportunity for a word of kavanah, a dvar tefilah. The goal of these is not to convey information, but to contextualize. To offer a pathway in. Even for the most familiar of our texts. The challenge for our words is the challenge of appropriate contextualization, not giving-over information.

Let's move from that to Ki Anu.

*dvar tefilah on Ki Anu - Simcha*

When we think of HHD words & melodies, what comes to find for most of us is avinu malkeinu. Which does indeed capture a key metaphor during these yamim noraim.

We're about to sing Ki Anu Amecha, a beuatiful & powerful poem that reminds us that there are many metaphors for God, and stirs us with the question, who am I/we to God? Who and what is God to me? Who and what is God to us?

Verse by verse, Ki Anu Amecha gives us a glimpse into the many and varied ways we relate to God, perhaps even hinting at the evolution of this relationship that can take place on this one day. From dependence and submission (children, servants) to a relationship that in the end offers loving connection. The Canadian poet Ruth Brin has written,

When men were children, they thought of God as a father;
When men were slaves, they thought of God as a master;
When men were subjects, they thought of God as a king.
But I am a woman, not a slave, not a subject,
not a child who longs for God as father or mother.

I might imagine God as teacher or friend, but those images,
like king, master, father or mother, are too small for me now.

God is the force of motion and light in the universe;
God is the strength of life on our planet;
God is the power moving us to do good:
God is the source of love springing up in us.
God is far beyond what we can comprehend.

This poem, and ki anu amecha, suggest that our images of God may be more a reflection of our own self-image than a description of God's self. So who am I to God? Who are we to God? Who and what is God to us?

***

What you shared could not have been more different than what I might have imagined, so I am deeply grateful.

- I thought that was beautiful, and I was also struck by how I was reactive when you started reading Ruth's about I couldn't relate to God as friend, I screamed "no" inside. And then when you and she moved on to images that felt more compatible, I relaxed. On an energetic level, it made me think about the power of what we say.

- very moving; can open up people's hearts

- I loved the repeated use of "So who am I to God? Who are we to God? Who and what is God to us?" and how those questions were changed for me by the Ruth Brin poem

- I got this actually in Reb Arthur's Seasons of Our Joy, his talking about moving through Y"K, how Ki Anu takes us through this evolution of relationship; I found that in 2 things I read. I thought it was really interesting, because the last line "anu ma'amirecha v'atah ma'amireinu." That word! I looked in 4 different places. "We are your faithful, and you are the source of our faith." Another said "we are your chosen ones." Another said, "We are your beloveds and you are our lover." Anotehr "We are your bespoken, and you are our bespoken." Four very different translation. But this is the only verse where you have the same word being used both places, and that makes sense in terms of the evolution, that by the end we're using the same word to describe who we are and who God is.

In terms of the text, please note the standard commentaries should all tell you -- I want to come back to more global things, but 2 detailed notes. Know the source for this piyyut is Shir haShirim Rabbah 2:17. Where it says "dodi li v'ani lo," etc.

What's interesting is the last stanza, the only one that keeps the same word. So that's the one where I'd like you to look up the reference, dvarim 26:17 and 18. Et-Adonai he'emarta hayom, and va'adonai he'emircha yahom.

Moving back: how does this, for most of us -- I don't know the musical traditions, but 3 people at random from this group, talk to me about how this text functions in the dynamic of Y"K liturgy.

- like, that everybody knows it and loves it and this is a major singing event?

The same is true of Avinu Malkeinu also. Anything more that you'd care to add about how this particular piyyut works?

- I don't know that it works this way specifically in community, but it comes right before the vidui, so the idea that there's this relationship that we are to God, God is to us, gives us some validity

For someone who speaks no Hebrew and knows nothing of our liturgy, what would such an anthropologist from Mars observe in many of our communities at this moment?

- the sounds of music; uplifting, gets us through the rest of musaf

This is a foot-stomper, right? People will clap and stomp their feet. Avinu Malkeinu is a profound singing moment, but people aren't dancing. This is an exuberant moment. What's this moment of exuberance doing just before the vidui?

- yeah, but we don't footstamp and jump up and down and bounce our babies!

- part of it has to do with the rhythm of the words (... la Traviata etc...)

My observation is not just about the words, but also about the emotional mood. I think that the whole general process of the Y"K liturgy is sufficiently heavy, sufficiently daunting, that I believe it simply needs a "let's lighten up for a minute" moment.

Reb Shlomo has cds of the R"H services. Most of the recordings of Carlebach are of him singing his melodies or telling stories, so this is very rare. (Have you all heard the recordings of him telling stories? Those cds are also available in Hebrew, and his Hebrew is beautiful. Very accessible and nuanced.) Shlomo also has a 2-cd set of nusach for R"H, maariv and shacharit and musaf. One of the only recordings of Shlomo really davening. It also has an electric keyboard in the background which you may need to pretend isn't there. Some of his own melodies; it's very compelling.

At the end of maariv for R"H he tells a story, about the nusach for maariv; he said, it's not a sad, sombre, or reflective thing at all. He identifies it as triumphant and possibly solemn but also joyful. Listen to his story about that.

- question about non-Jews participating in yizkor

I don't want to go into this now. By participate, you mean --

- be there & say the prayers

I am not aware of any traditional source whatsoever that in any way limits the presence of any non-Jewish person at any Jewish ritual or liturgical gathering at any time or any place other than sacrificial proceedings 2000 years ago. I cannot construct any possible reason why it would be well-founded in trad Jewish sources that non-Jewish persons not be present.

I understand that there are strong communal dynamics; call me and we'll speak about it.

Interesting you said that. The discussion I'm most familiar with, which doesn't really rise to the level of controversy, is: where is the most appropriate place to situate Yizkor in the flow of the Y"K service?

- before musaf; I thought it was etched in stone

- after Torah service

- afternoon, before mincha

Some Mizrachi communities do it between mincha and neilah.

Two tradition-streams. One holds that YK is no different from shalosh regalim, and yizkor comes after haftarah; or it comes between mincha and neilah. Some Ashkenazic synagogues put yizkor in that latter place with the manipulative intent that that would schlep people back for neilah.

- I like to separate this from martyrology; they're both related to death so we need to keep them separate. There's a point of intersection in KHN, in the martyrology there's a kaddish for those who died in kedushat hashem and martyrs of Israel. That's a place where they seem to intersect.

I'm an advocate for putting yizkor between mincha and ne'ilah. Partially that it doesn't hurt to do something that will work to bring people back at that time, but not primarily. I find that in most somewhat traditional synagogues, we don't take a break between birchot hashachar and the end of musaf. People have limited attention and will only sit through so much liturgy no matter what. It troubles me that the price of a long morning service, Torah service, sermon and speech, and then yizkor is often borne by having lots of people leave before musaf. So they do not encounter the avodah or martyrology.

By taking yizkor out of that place following the Torah service, it gives slightly greater sequential integrity to the flow of shacharit, Torah service, musaf, and underscores the deep and profound connection between the Torah reading for the morning and seder ha-avodah which I think is a critical connection and which is severely impacted by yizkor.

The afternoon of Y"K which we'll speak about a little later is a very precious time. In some ways I think that all of Y"K exists in order to faciitate the afternoon. I had a karate teacher, somewhat austere merciless Chinese teacher, who said that the only point of his teaching for the first two hours of a long class was to get people worn out so as to create a softening on a pretty harsh bunch of undergraduate college students, to beat down the conscious resistance so that he could then really begin teaching for the last 15 or 20 minutes when he'd beaten everybody into a much more open state. It's not a perfect analogy, but the afternoon of Y"K is an extraordinary time. We know that Y"K works when you just feel that the nature of time, the nature of your inner soliloquy, is entirely different.

That spiritual moment is the right moment for yizkor.

Look in the hand out that I mailed to you. Two pieces that I want to bring your attention to. page 2 in Yizkor, 3 paragraphs at the top

This is making us realize: we are going to die. Offering a different metaphor/paradigm, particularly at Yizkor, invites people to say that God is real. Lionel has used a very trad metaphor and the concept of tzelem and damut. We're looking for image and likeness. We are tzelem and damut of Elohim.

Many of us have problematic relationships with those we're remembering in Yizkor. The paragraph which begins "We remember those who we knew and were dear to us..." I ask people to read aloud. "We think of those we loved and those we could never love enough." This invites us to remember that remembering means the hard bits, too.

- at kehila we have "yizkor for one well-loved" and "yizkor for one who may have been the source of pain or difficulty." (will post to wiki)

- just came back from retreat w/ Reb Zalman. He said it's his custom not to have people whose parents are alive leave the room, but to ask them to use that yizkor time to do some inner work to think of the points of pain that need forgiveness during that time within themselves.

One more piece on yizkor that I wanted to bring in front of us. Some congregations have a custom to read a long list of names aloud. Some read aloud only those who have died since last Y"K.

- at kehila we eliminated the list of names but created a physical cloth scroll on which people have numerous opportunities to write on. During Yizkor instead of reading names we have a slow beautiful unrolling of the scroll which stretches the length of the bimah, while the community sings in a hushed tone.

- depends on size of congregation

Many communities prepare a booklet.

- that's what our community does; the only problem is, we use it as an opportunity for fundraising

The shuls I've had anything to do with make it a fundraising opportunity rather than a fundraising demand.

[missed a few moments]

If you make a mistake in reading a name, it will hurt. No one will be mad, but it will hurt. Should you be called upon to read a list of names, I recommend a moment of inner meditation, clearing of your mind.

Let's talk about Avodah.

*Avodah - Cynthia*

The first thing I did when I was looking into this was pull out every machzor I have. There is nothing that they all have in common except that they're based in Leviticus 16 and Mishna Yoma.

The modern avodah service is an attempt like every other service to recreate Temple cult. Current services in general include:

- 3 confessions, the first would be the confession for the kohen gadol and his household, the second for the people (or all kohanim in general), the third for the world (or all of Israel)

Only when these are completed does the KG himself prepare for entrance into the Holy of Holies.

The opening part of Lev. 16 is the death of 2 of Aaron's sons for doing something incorrect in the H of H so in general the intent or the intensity of the confessional part of the avodah service is enhanced.

Depending on the denomination the sevice may include a variety of piyyutim on the creation story, large sections of mishna yoma which explain what the KG used to do, and at least a minimal comment on the scapegoat. Concludes w/ prayer of the KG for getting out of the H of H safe and alive.

The avodah service may be interspersed w/in musaf (Recon), or may be its own special piece (Conservative) and therefore moveable. Artscroll puts it toward the end of musaf after the amidah but it's not segregated from the service itself.

The piece of mishna yoma (first mishna I ever studied) is about how the KG is removed from his house to a place w/in the Temple and is prepared to take over and do this service, essential for the life of the people of Israel for the coming year. There's a series of worries about whether they need to have a backup KG in case this one has a problem, e.g. his wife passes away. It may also be because one of them has a nocturnal emission and therefore is not pure enough to make atonement for himself & his house. But the other thing that's clear in Yoma is that the split between the rabbinate, or the people who actually know, has gotten so great or so political that they need to teach the KG what to do. They have him memorize how to do it, they're worried that he might otherwise not emerge alive.

You need to know Lev 16 (Torah reading for morning) and Yoma (which is often the study session if there's a break in the afternoon.) The avodah service itself has no coherent construction. The piyyutim differ, the way the confessions are constructed are different, who you confess for differs depending on the movement, etc. The only thing that is common to everybody is that you do something to recognize that in the old days the entire purpose of Y"K was served by the KG making confession for self, family, people and entering the H of H to call out the name of God and to emerge unscathed.

*end*

In the Conservative machzorim, Harlow and Machzor Chadash, it's included as a rubric of its own, as you say. So it can be inserted at the moment of choice, or dumped.

Quick question: who is an advocate for the retention? (show of hands) For the non-inclusion? (show of hands)

Can you say why?

- I find that it's not one of the more meaningful services for the congregation, and there's always a time constraint. It's lower on the totem pole in terms of what I sense is meaningful.

- I would interject that it can be a powerful moment, depending on the cantor and on what pieces you choose to share. I'm not for or against it so much as I've seen versions done which were quite remarkable.

Any other reasons not to include? Or reasons to include?

- I have found the avodah service led by R' Hannah and Daniel to be amazing, powerful, humbling.

I differ a tiny bit. It comes in the same place as malchuyot, zichronot, shofarot on R"H. There's a consistency in the structure of musaf on R"H and Y"K. Silent amidah, and then the opening of unetaneh tokef, aleinu, kedusha. And then the insertion of what's special for the day, at exactly the same point.

There are 2 versions of an acrostic piyyut (sefardic and ashkenazic.) The Ashkenazic one is amitz koach, p. 554 Artscroll. In a certain way the whole thing, from the beginning of that through the rehearsal of the whole, yoma and so on, is really pretty much one unit. But as you rightly say, it's not clear precisely -- it's like the haggadah for Pesach, many sources have been melded into a unit. Interestingly the Reform movement did not dump it; they included it. Most versions I've seen present 3 versions of the ana Hashem text. Even if much of the intervening text has been edited down, retain the 3 iterations of ana Hashem.

The Spanish-Portuguese text has a different alphabetic acrostic which begins with ata konanta. I forgot to send you the version of the seder ha-avodah prepared by my rebbes in England. They chose the Sefardic text and there's a lovely translation.

If you look at both of them carefully, they go all the way back to the beginning. "You etablished the world from the very beginning; You gave foundations to the earth & everything in it," etc. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Levi, Amram, Aaron "to be holy and separate for God," etc.

This is unfamiliar language. When we really encounter the seder korbanot, in some deep way we don't get it. We've held on to this for so many centuries; I'm very taken by the Hovda piece here. The right few words, the right context, will allow these ancient symbols to remain living symbols and to signify. We can maintain the vitality of those ancient symbols. The judgement call on how to do it, which texts or readings or melodies, the choreography, who kneels... there are ways to bring this to be an alive symbolic moment rather than a dreary recital of a piece of mishna.

- look at Ben Sira ch. 45, starting verse 6 - lovely thing about this

It's 11:45. I'm not going to address the Martyrology; the issues on how it is constructed are not radically different from Yom HaShoah. In the materials I sent to you there's a piece by Eliezer Berkovitz at the very end, p. 9 of supplementary readings. Possibly the best piece of modern theology on the Shoah that I've ever read.

Re: Mareh Kohen: http://alephholidayliturgyclass.wikispaces.com/Mareh+Kohen

- it's a beautiful piyyut, the sun is pouring down on you

It's no accident that the Torah reading omits the story of the death of Nadav and Avihu but that text is hanging in everybody's mind. So the fact that it ends with the Kohen Gadol coming out alive is critical.

One thing on process. I'd like everybody to set up, if we can, a 10-15 minute conversation with me; I want to check in with each one of you. I'll put times up on the wiki.

On mincha. If I can turn everybody back to the materials I sent to you, there's some pages that are numbered beginning M, for Mincha. "A time of quiet before the afternoon service." (Reading)

Lionel also wrote the confession at the bottom of the page & the one on the next page. I particularly love "I remember the times when I was able to put up with fools," etc.

Jonah and other items will have to wait for another time.

Ne'ilah. Any closing thoughts on mincha? Apart from the Torah reading & Jonah, and we spoke about Jonah earlier, mincha is the classic Y"K service: Torah reading, haftarah, amidah, repetition w/ vidui, kaddish shalem. It's the shortest, sweetest packaging of the skeleton of Y"K. So it's interesting to look at different approaches to adorning it.

Ne'ilah. Whenever anybody speaks to me of the HHD, they say, "I've only got a little time: when should I come?" I tell them to come to mincha & neilah. It's a bit of a cheat; I don't know if you've been at a marathon or supermarathon -- even if you haven't run the whole damn race yourself, running the last mile or two with the team you pick up on a lot. So creating the space for an amazing ne'ilah is the gift that the core community who's been there all day offers to anybody who just comes back for that. I cannot stress enough the way in which mincha and neilah, that time of day, have soul-bursting power. It's in a different league to K"N. The blowing of the shofar on R"H and neilah are the two extraordinary moments.

Inviting individuals or families to stand before the aron kodesh. I've gotten positive feedback, not in funky Renewal communities! Those moments are extraordinary. The first time I introduced it I planted a few folks; it just takes one or two people to open it up for everybody else.

- do you give them a kavanah of what to do when they go up there?

No. What I say is, approaching the bimah, even if you're using a local high school gym as your HHD space, the place has acquired sanctity by virtue of being a nexus-point for our prayers and reflections and thoughts. The opportunity is for individuals to come and to be in that nexus-point, the place where our prayers of yearning have physically been. To stand in front of the ark, to be close to the Torah, which brings together different possible moments of sanctity.

[I'm sorry, all - I had to leave at noon, I have another commitment today.]