Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Orthodox, Masorti and Reform Rabbi discuss Yom Kippur

I came across this feature on Yom Kippur in the Jerusalem Post back in 1999. It comprises of articles by an Orthodox (Saul Berman), Conservative (Yosef Kleiner) and Reform (Michael Marmur) Rabbi on Yom Kippur.

Ten years on its still part of my preparation for the Yamim Noraim.


Berman: Observing the fast of Yom Kippur properly means being ready to ask ourselves hard questions about how we usually arrange for our physical comforts, and about whether we acquire and allocate our resources ethically and honestly. Observing Yom Kippur demands that we confront the truth about our intimate relationships, so that holiness and ethical values, not just pleasure, can be furthered in every aspect of our lives.
Kleiner:Let us remember the first question in the Torah. It is God asking the first human being: “Adam, ayeka? (Human being, where are you?) Teshuva, as a response, is an answer to that very first question… “Where are you? Where have your actions taken you? Have you made any progress in taking your share of responsibility toward Creation?” And response demands return – looking back and evaluating. Enquiring and digging into our most profound selves. Returning to our last point of departure, trying to understand whether we have forged ahead or wandered around in a circle – or, indeed, walked backward.

Marmur: My own personal version of preparation for Yom Kippur always begins with a sense of how absurd and limited I am, and how grand I pretend to be…I try to bring to mind the inadequacies and the errors, the times when I was angry instead of smart, and when I was clever instead of genuine.


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