This coming Shabbat is the first Shabbat of the year. The Shabbat that falls between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is referred to as Shabbat Shuva, The Shabbat of Return. We read a special haftarah, or prophetic reading which is a combination of the words of Hosea and Micah that speak to the theme of repentance.
On Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur, one of the piyyutim, liturgical poems, that we chant is the Unetaneh Tokef, with the haunting words, “who will live, who will die, who by fire, who by water, who by sword, and who beast… “
It is a both moving and chilling sentiment. We focus on the metaphor of God sitting in heaven with the Book of Life open. As we pass before God like sheep passing before a shepherd, we pray that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for the year to come.
There is a beautiful melody that Leonard Cohen put to the words of the Unetaneh Tokef prayer that I hope will help prepare you for the upcoming Day of Awe, Yom Kippur.
Following Saturday's Shabbat service, please join us for a Kiddush sponsored by members Alan and Wendy Roselinsky in memory of both Alan's mother Toby Roselinsky and Wendy's mother Pearl Rodman.
Gmar Chatimah Tova.
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.