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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dancing The Prayers

Today was Yom Kippur, a traditional marathon of prayers in the synagogue.  We started last night after finishing a very early dinner.  Everything had to be finished, from the last drop of water to brushing our teeth before the sun had begun to set.

Then we went to pray.  The Yom Kippur evening prayers begin very softly and seriously.  We ask G-d to cancel whatever vows/oaths we may have said over the year, and while we're at it, we add a "PS" that older ones and future ones be cancelled, too.

After that is an extra long evening prayer, including Vidu'i, Confessions.  Most of the tunes are pretty somber, but sometimes I find myself sort of hopping around.

Then it's back home for a long night's sleep.  There isn't much to do on Yom Kippur, certainly not nosh.

The next morning we were back in synagogue sort of glued to our seats.  Well, not quite glued, since we're supposed to stand for long periods of the services.  There was a break, less than two hours.  We don't have professional singers/chazzanim/cantors leading the prayers.  We have some brave neighbors with strong voices.  Some of them are more feeling/soul than skill and would never have been accepted into a school glee club, unless the school had a policy to accept everyone.  But, davka, those neighbors sometimes make the best prayers, all feeling,, and that's what Yom Kippur is about.  Prayers must be sincere or they are useless.

Frequently when standing was becoming painful, the tunes would get lively and I'd find myself dancing.  OK, sort of dancing, since I could only move up or down, busy work for my ankles and knees.

The final part of the Yom Kippur Prayers is Ni'ila, from the Hebrew for locking.  We must get our prayers in before G-d locks the door.  That was sung by a young man with an excellent voice who had chosen great tunes and my neighbors and I who were in the same row ended with our arms around each other swaying to the tunes and singing along.

Perched up in the women's balcony we, too prayed/sang at the top of our lungs.

May your year be full of "good things."

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