Erev Yom Kippur with Hadar
Wednesday, September 15
11:00 AM - 4:30 PM Eastern
In ancient times, the day before Yom Kippur was a mini-holiday in its own right, known as Ma'al (derived from the Aramaic word for “erev”). This was an important day in which people asked each other for forgiveness. It is mentioned in the Talmud numerous times, and until recently, Jewish communities in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, continued to refer to Erev Yom Kippur by this name.
This year, on Yom Ha-Ma’al, prepare for Yom Kippur spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Join us for any part of the day to learn about the themes and prayers of the day and enjoy soulful melodies and excerpts from the Yom Kippur liturgy.
11:00-11:50 AM: Introduction to the day, what is yom ha Ma’al? And first session: Who By Fire?: The Most Controversial Prayer in Jewish Life
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer
Are you troubled by reciting: “Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die?” every year on High Holidays? Does God really mete out just reward and punishment each year? Together we will examine the Untane Tokef prayer, look at its Biblical allusions, and discover its radically divergent internal theological approaches.
12:00-12:50 PM: Are Our Sins Really Our Fault: Repentance and Responsibility in the Thought of the Kedushat Levi
If God made us who we are and how we are, then shouldn't God shoulder some of the blame for our sins? In this class we'll engage this question through a Hasidic approach to teshuvah and forgiveness. We will explore the theological advantages and disadvantages of shifting blame from ourselves to God, or conversely, shifting blame from God to ourselves.
1:00-1:30 PM: Practicing Self-Forgiveness
Yom Kippur offers a rare opportunity to forgive and be forgiven. For some of us, the person we have the greatest difficulty forgiving is ourselves. How can we approach Yom Kippur from a place of self-compassion and self-forgiveness? This class will engage in text study and guided meditative reflections.
1:30-2:00 PM: Ark and Stone: Heidegger and the Holy of Holies
The High Priest’s entrance into the Holy of Holies was arguably one of the most spiritually potent moments of Yom Kippur. Yet in a devastating off-hand remark in Mishnah Yoma, we are told that in the Second Temple period, there was no ark; instead, there was a stone. Join us as we explore what the spiritual theater of the Avodah service can mean for us in the present moment through reflecting on several rabbinic texts about the loss of the ark and the significance of this stone in conversation with the writings of Martin Heidegger.
2:00-2:50 PM: The Avodah Service: A Dramatic Interpretation
Rabbi Avi Strausberg
The Avodah Service of Yom Kippur offers a dramatic retelling full of blood, guts and all, of the climactic ritual at the heart of Yom Kippur during the times of the Temple. And, yet often by the time we get to this liturgical retelling during our own Musaf Service of Yom Kippur, we lose all the drama. At best, we speed-read through this climactic moment and at worst, we skip it all together. In this session, we'll dive into the liturgy of the Avodah Service and experience it as an original short theatre piece written by Rav Avi as we attempt to bring to life and fully appreciate the drama, the significance, and the emotion of this key piece of Yom Kippur liturgy.
3:00-3:50 PM - Making our Self-Judgments Helpful: Yemima on Preparing for Yom Kippur
Hannah Kapnik Ashar
Yemima Avital z''l, teacher and healer, taught that the mouth can discern and choose words that bring us toward spiritual and cognitive work. This session will draw on Yemima Avital's wisdom for Yom Kippur on "cleaning" our judgments toward looking at the truth with warmth, and thereby bringing our systems into harmony. We will employ spiritual practices from Yemima's learning method, including listening practice and writing to harvest insight. Please bring a pen and journal, and a cup of tea.
4:00-4:30 PM - Viddui Recitation and Closing Song
Rabbi Aviva Richman