The Jewish High Holidaysthe ten days beginning with the New Year Festival of Rosh Hashanah and culminating with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonementconstitute the most sacred period of the Jewish year. During this season, religious as well as nonaffiliated Jews attend synagogue services in unparalleled numbers. Yet much of what they find there can be unwelcoming in its patriarchal imagery, leaving many worshipers unsatisfied. For those seeking to connect more deeply with their Judaism, and for all readers in search of a contemplative approach to the themes of the fall season, poet and scholar Marcia Falk re-creates the holidays’ key prayers and rituals from an inclusive perspective. Among the offerings in The Days Between are Hebrew and English blessings for festive meals, prayers for synagogue services, and poems and meditations for quiet reflection. Emphasizing introspection as well as relationship to others, Falk evokes her vision of the High Holidays as “ten days of striving to keep the heart open to change.” Accessible and welcoming to modern readers, The Days Between is steeped in traditional sources and grounded in liturgical and biblical scholarship. It will serve as a meaningful alternative or supplement to the traditional liturgy for individuals, families, synagogues, and communities small and largethat is, for all who seek fresh meaning in the High Holidays.
About the Author
MARCIA FALK, a Brandeis University alumna, is the author of three books of poems and several highly acclaimed translations of biblical and modern poetry, including The Song of Songs: Love Lyrics from the Bible. The Days Between is the long-awaited sequel to her groundbreaking liturgical work, The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION: THE DAYS BETWEEN • Between Beginning and Beginning • Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur • Between Past and Future, between Birth and Death • Between the Covers of This Book • ONE: ROSH HASHANAH • APPROACHING THE GATES: FESTIVE MEAL FOR ROSH HASHANAH EVE • Lighting the Candles for Rosh Hashanah • Blessing of Renewal (Sheheheyanu) • Blessing the Children • Fruit of the Vine (Kiddush) • Fruit of the Tree: Apples and Honey • Fruits of the Earth • Washing the Hands • Blessing before the Meal • Blessing after the Meal • OPENING THE HEART • Opening the Heart • Introduction to Un’taneh Tokef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day • Un’taneh Tokef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day • Introduction to Shofarot, Zikhronot, Malkhuyot: Calls, Recalling, Callings • Shofarot: Calls • Zikhronot: Recalling • Malkhuyot: Callings • May It Be So • WE CAST INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA (TASHLIKH RITUAL) • Introduction • Casting Away • Poems of the River and the Sea • Facing the Sea, by Zelda • The Blade of Grass Sings to the River, by Leah Goldberg • The Tree Sings to the River, by Leah Goldberg • From Today Is Forever, by Malka Heifetz Tussman • TWO: WINDOW, BIRD, SKY • DAILY PSALMS AND DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART • FOR THE TEN DAYS OF RETURNING • Introduction • Meditation: Window, Bird, Sky • Day One | First Day of Rosh Hashanah • The Gift • Seeing with the Heart • Day Two | Second Day of Rosh Hashanah • Birthday of the World • Giving Birth • Day Three • Awakening • Presence • Day Four • Like Buds • Gratitude • Day Five • Wind • Sadness • Day Six • Morning Minyan • Time • Day Seven • When You Look in the Mirror • Death • Day Eight • Open Wings • Open Questions • Day Nine • What Do You Hear • Silence • Day Ten | Yom Kippur • What Do You Have? • Nothing • THREE: YOM KIPPUR • GATHERING IN: YOM KIPPUR EVE • The Meal before the Fast • Washing the Hands • Blessing before the Meal • Blessing after the Meal • Blessing of Renewal (Sheheheyanu) • Blessing the Children • TURNING THE HEART • Tallit: Prayer Shawl • Introduction to Kol Nidrey: All Vows • Kol Nidrey: All Vows • Turning the Heart • Confession • Un’taneh Tokef K’dushat Hayom: We Declare the Utter Sanctity of This Day • REMEMBERING THE LIVES (YIZKOR SERVICE) • Introduction • I Recall • Poems of Grief and Consolation • Passageways of Grieving • Before and After • Grief ’s House • Birds in a Dying Birch • Enduring • Another View • Earth • You Do Not Belong to You • Beneath Shekhinah’s Wings • Kaddish: Beauty of the World • N’ILAH: CLOSING OF THE GATES • Closing Hour • The Great Call • FROM END TO BEGINNING • Breaking the Fast • Coda: Open Gate • FOUR: ENTERING THE GATES • Service for the High Holidays • FIVE: RE-VISIONING Un’taneh Tokef K’dushat Hayom • Structure, Content, and Theology: An Overview • The View from Within • Acknowledgments
What People are Saying About This
“The Days Between is Marcia Falk’s long-awaited sequel to her pathbreaking Book of Blessings. Since that book appeared, Falk has lost nothing of her precious poetic giftsshe remainsan outstanding lyrical interpreter of Jewish liturgy. These translations and interpretations for the High Holiday season show deep empathy for the human condition, lofty aspirations for what that condition can accomplish, and intense regard for Jewish traditionnot just reiterated, but revised and reassembled for today.”
“Marcia Falk is a vital voice for our times. Her brilliant work is bound to touch your heart, open your mind, and bring a new sense of the ancient power of the High Holidays. She seamlessly weaves a poet’s gift of words that open inner vistas, a liturgist’s capacity to speak to the universal, a scholar’s insight into Jewish traditions and texts, and a contemporary feminist’s fresh eyes for her task. This book is a wonderful companion for the Ten Days oft’shuvah.”
“Marcia Falk has captured the essence of our ten Holiest Daysa journey from reflection to renewal to resolve. Her exquisite poetry and prayer will speak to the contemporary seeker looking for language that opens the heart and soul. Not just American Jews but the many Israelis who are estranged from traditional Hebrew prayer will be drawn into this inviting, wonderfully usable guide and precious companion for the very days that cry for a new rite of passage.”