29th of Elul

29th of Elul: Wednesday, September 28th  – Erev Rosh Hashanah

“To pray is to know how to stand still and dwell upon a word” (Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel).

Tonight, as we enter the Yamim Nora’im, these Days of Awe, we continue our journey of cultivating balance. As we enter our prayer spaces on Wednesday night, we seek the critically important balance between keva (fixed worship), and kavannah (prayer with inward intent). Keva is our worship, a formal and institutional approach, often happening within the context of community. Kavannah is prayer that emanates from the heart, typically in the form of a response or a request.

In Rosh Hashanah Readings by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, Rabbi Mark Greenspan reminds us: “The sages of the Talmud speak about keva and kavannah, spontaneity and form, in the act of prayer. True worship, true prayer must have a measure of both. There is an element of discipline, formula, and history that shapes how and what we say. But there must also be another element of fire that comes from deep within our heats, a quality that is unique to us, that connects us to God personally. It’s not enough to go through the words of the machzor, to worship mindlessly. We must find a way to transform the words we recite into our personal prayer.”

L’shana Tova U’Metukah – May this be a sweet, reflective, and joyous New Year!

What are those prayers that emanate from your heart? How can they balance your communal prayer experience over these High Holy Days?


These daily Elul messages are the product of a cooperative venture by Rabbis Asher Knight (Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, Texas), Bradley Levenberg (Temple Sinai, Atlanta, Georgia), Jason Nevarez (Temple Shaaray Tefila, Bedford Corners, New York), and David N. Young (Temple Sinai, Miami, Florida).


Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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