Skip to main content

Yom Kippur 5755: Sweating the small stuff.

(Yes, I know - that's a picture of a fortune cookie. Let it go.)

There's an expression "Don't sweat the small stuff; and it's all small stuff." What concerns me this Yom Kippur? The small stuff because so much of the next 30'ish hours is "small" stuff.

One of my cantor colleagues wrote about his focus not on the Kol Nidrei prayer but rather on the prayer that precedes it (bishivah shel malah) - the intense awe it inspires in him with the idea of praying with an entire congregation of sinners.

My concern this year is this: I am fully prepared spiritually and vocally for the BIG pieces of music the next 30 hours will present.  Kol Nidrei, Ya'aleh, Tavo l'fanecha, the Kaddish Shaleim that almost concludes Ne'ilah - these are vocally demanding, vocally and textually dramatic hefty pieces of music (and, in the case of the Kaddish Shaleim, a bit of fun and release).

I am very concerned about the "smaller" prayers, the davvened (a la recitative) prayers that can appear to be "filler," something to be gotten through quickly without fanfare or vocal challenge. Things like the last few blessings in the various Amidot, places where I'm pretty sure no one in the congregation is paying a lot of attention, certainly to the text and definitely not to the melody. It's easy to let my mind wander, things to get through quickly without fuss. Can I maintain intensity and focus?

At the UJC we have 8 recitations of the Viddui, the Yom Kippur confessional. By the time we get to recitation number 5 or 6 (in the afternoon service), am I really paying attention or am I "mind wandering" through something to be gotten through?  Can I maintain my focus and intensity through all those al cheyt shechatanu (for the sin we have committed ...) iterations?

My goal is to sweat all that "small" stuff because that's where I'm going to look for my relationship with God.

To anyone who may read this, g'mar chatimah tovah - may we all be SEALED for a good year in the Book of Life.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

And Sarah said, "Hashtag Me Too"

#metoo Parashat Lech Lecha Friday/Saturday, October 27-28, 2017 Cantor Penny M. Kessler
Thank you to Rabbi Tiwy for giving me the opportunity to offer some words of Torah tonight and tomorrow morning.
“Hashtag me, too” is the rallying cry giving voice to millions of women who have been used and abused sexually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually for decades. From the lofty heights of show business to secretaries and janitors, women are finding their voices and declaring that their stories of abuse need to be told. Some have never told their stories, while some have come forward in the past, only to be told to shut up and show up lest their livelihoods – and in some cases lives – be threatened.
I have friends and rabbi and cantor colleagues who are telling their stories for the first time, some in decades, some who experienced abuse and harassment during their seminary experiences. And – personal disclaimer – while I am grateful that I have never been physically abused, there are m…

Nissan 1, 5778 - First the Refrigerator (Begin)

My refrigerator needs a solid Pesach cleaning. So does my stove and my pantries. Just thinking about it gives me a headache. 
Bring on the excuses: it's too much, I'm tired, I want to sit and watch more repeats of Law and Order: SVU. 
But I know that I'll feel virtuous and delighted with myself with every completed task. 
Fine. Deep breath. Change into comfy clothes and head to the refrigerator.