Thursday, October 13, 2016

Yom Kippur: Mar + Matok

I'm the crazy person who really likes the Yom Kippur davening.  If the chazan and congregation are on their games, the result can be perfectly amazing. On a great Yom Kippur, the service will make me think and feel, while it elevates my emotions and leaves me spent. The afterglow is real.

In fact,  I'm so crazy, that I'd rather spend less time on  Viduy and Avinu Malkaynu and more time on the piyuttim. I like to read them and, when the chazzan is doing his job, I like to sing them, too. 

No claims about how any of this effects God and my din, however. I can only say what it does to me.

However, not everything about Yom Kippur is peaches and creme. 

Here are my Opposite of Top Yom Kippur moments:

1) Selling aliyot. I will never understand why "we need the money" is allowed to serve as an excuse to turn a place of prayer into a marketplace on one of the holiest days of the year. It fails as an excuse, because a) many of the places that sell honors don't actually "need money" and b) you could also prostitute the rabbi's wife, or put Nascar signs on the Aron for money. Point is some lines we don't cross, and it's weird to me that this isn't one of them.

2) The ArtScroll encouraged idea that "[The piyutim are] infinitely more than inspired poetry." See, "infinitely more than poetry" is NewSpeak, a way of hiding the frightening fact that it really IS poetry, and that our community, for all it's jive about being "authentic" is failing our fathers, and making a mistake by not teaching our young people to write and appreciate poetry.

3) The appeal after Kol Nidray. See #1

4) People who complain about how boring shul is, or spend the day reading or learning. Will you please kwicherbellyachin'? Please? This attitude, I've found, is more common in shtiebles, and its usually the people who identify themselves as "very frum" who think its holier to learn when the rest fo us are praying

5) Chazzanim who use new tunes for the piyutim. Call me an unreconstructed traditionalist, but I don't want to sing Maaseh Elokim to the latest Shwekcy hit. And though I recognize that some of the more "traditional" tunes were likely Russian drinking songs before we appropriated them, that isn't what they mean to me.

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