Tomorrow night, at the closing cusp of Shabbat, we'll hold Selichot services -- the formal beginning of our high holiday season. The Days of Awe are almost here! Here are a few of my favorite posts from this moment in previous years:
Hatarat nedarim means "releasing of vows." It's a ceremony in which one person assembles three others to serve as a beit din, a court of law... The idea is that these friends serve as representatives of the court on high, and that if each of us can honestly say to these friends that we made vows in the last year in error and wish to be released from them, as our friends hear and accept our regrets, the heavenly court does the same.
"Ana B'Koach" is the prayer I turn to when I'm asking for help in letting go of something that has me all worked up in guilt and recriminations. I'll be singing Hanna Tiferet's melody for the prayer, which features just the first line... So often we tie ourselves in knots over things we've done or haven't done. This season of teshuvah (repentance / return) is a perfect time to work on untangling what's become tense and knotted in our spiritual lives.
Compassionate One, remember / we are your children // help us to know again / that we are cradled...
- The Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, 2005
Buying groceries, and learning Torah. Making a pot of Joe (because my grandmother Rachel's honeycake recipe requires a cup of cold coffee) and practicing the last section of Tuesday's Torah portion, in which God hears Ishmael’s soundless cries...
Shabbat shalom to all; may this Shabbat bring a heightened sense of how near we are to these majestic Days of Awe!