Sacks - Ceremony & Celebration - Introduction to the Holidays

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Ceremony & Celebration. Introduction to the Holidays
The ten days that begin on Rosh HaShana and culminate in Yom Kippur are the holy of holies of Jewish time. The atmosphere in the synagogue is intense. You can almost touch the Divine Presence. Isaiah said: “Seek God where He is to be found, call on Him when He is close” (Is. 55:6). The rabbis wrestled with this verse. What could it mean? God is the God of everywhere and all time. He is always to be found, always close. The verse seemed to make no sense at all.
This was their reply: “These are the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur” - meaning, God is always close to us, but we are not always close to Him. He is always to be found, but we do not always seek Him out. To sense the closeness of God needs some special effort on our part. T o reach out to the Infinite in finite space, to meet the Eternal in the midst of time, to sense what ultimately lies beyond the senses, requires a focus far beyond the ordinary.
It needs a drama of holiness, enacted in our holiest place, the synagogue, at the holiest of times, Yamim Nora’im, the Days of Awe. To begin, it needs a sound - the shofar - so piercing and strange that it wakes us out of our everyday consciousness into an awareness of being present at something vast and momentous. We need to come close to God for God to feel close to us. That is what happens on the Ten Days of Repentance, and it begins on Rosh HaShana.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Ceremony & Celebration. Introduction to the Holidays

Maggid Books & The Orthodox Union, Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd., New Milford, Jerusalem, 2017.- 297 pp.
ISBN 978-159264-025-6, hardcover

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Ceremony & Celebration. Introduction to the Holidays - Contents

  • ROSH HASHANA. The Anniversary of Creation
  • YOM KIPPUR. Seeking Forgiveness
  • SUKKOT. Season of Joy
  • PESAH. Finding Freedom
  • SHAVUOT. The Greatest Gift
About the Author


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