Yom Kippur Elucidated

10 Oct

I love Artscroll. Not because of the obvious fact that when you’re davening and counting pages you get to divide the page number in half, and WaLah davening is half over.


I took a good look this Yom Kippur at the English translation, and you know what, the tefilos are beautiful.


People ask, why do we all daven the same words? How can we all say the same thing and convey our own message?


Besides for the explanation that same piece of music played by someone else will always be different, therein lies the difference. I want to focus on the explanation that we have lost the ability to fully express ourselves to Hashem and Anshe Knessess Hagedolah set up organized prayer for the laymen, so everyone can reach Hashem with eloquence.


Whenever I heard that explanation I always thought, can these same words really express what I want to say to what someone else is trying to convey? Are these words really that beautiful. I never took the time to read the English translation. Following along with the Chazzan today, I fell in love with davening.


Take Kesser for an example.


The first line, (this is from the Artscroll translation)


“A crown, here give You, O Hashem, our G-d – the angels of the multitude above, together with Your people Israel who are assembled below”


As I was reading this I got such a visual picture of what it might look like, and it blew me away.


And there was plain old beautiful analogies, and metaphors which I as an English teacher appreciated.


“A man’s origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.”


I can go on and on….it was beautiful.


Yom Kippur was good.

And then I looked at the seating chart and saw “Please do not sit in a seat WHICH is reserved” and I cringed at the obvious grammatical error rooted in Yiddish transliteration and the fact that I noticed it…on Yom Kippur.


Posted by on October 10, 2008 in Yom Tov


Tags: , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Yom Kippur Elucidated

  1. Child Ish Behavior

    October 10, 2008 at 8:49 am

    And we people who daven Ashkinaz don’t say Kesser! Still and all, you have a point. Though I think that anyone can write poems to express their own personal feelings toward Hashem. Some of the things written in the Dark Ages seem very, well…, Dark.

  2. anon

    October 10, 2008 at 2:50 pm


  3. tooyoungtoteach

    October 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Anyone can write a poem to express themselves to Hashem, you’re right on that point, I just don’t know how eloquent they’ll be.

    And ye, they may be dark, but it’s the intriuging, hauntingly beautiful kind.

    I never knew that about nussach Ashkenaz, I had to ask my brother who switched nusachs…shame, you’re missing out.

  4. Princess Lea

    October 10, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Your brother converted?
    I was thinking the same, with my newly purchased machzor (they seem to disappear every year) at the beauty of the Spanish poets. Then, it wasn’t enough to be a rabbi; one had to use iambic pentameter as well.

  5. Mikeinmidwood

    October 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I davened ashkenaz and we said kesser.

  6. The Babysitter

    October 10, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    I for one can’t write a poem like that.

    I daven Sefard and we say Keser, but that’s by Mussaf, by Shachris I think it’s the same one that the Ashkenaz people say. By Shachris it starts off with Nakdishcha…

    and I came to the same conclusion, davening is truly beutiful, I was gonna write about my experience, but since my blog isn’t working yet, I figured I’d skip it since everyone else seemed to have written great posts on Yom Kippur.

    Anways, I didn’t have an English Machzor, but I think for the next Yom Tov I’ll try to use one. But basically what I was gonna say was that I didn’t find the fast to be hard at all, since we were kept busy by davening so I didn’t feel hungry, and from the bit of Hebrew I knew certain parts of the Tefillah seemed so powerful, especially in the tune it was said.

  7. frumyenta

    October 13, 2008 at 12:39 am

    (anon: It’s “voila” – couldn’t resist 😉 )

  8. The Babysitter

    October 13, 2008 at 3:08 am

    TooYoungToTeach: Does “End of World” still have her blog, and its by invite only? can you ask her to invite me? thanx!

  9. frumpunk

    October 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I always thought I was the only one who did the Artscroll thing with the page numbers.

  10. tooyoungtoteach

    October 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Seriously FrumPunk? You thought you were the only one, I don’t know ANYONE, even the biggest frummies I know, that don’t do it.

    It’s human nature, I think it might actually qualify as a law.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: