This is a little bit of a stretch for the “eighth” part of the day, but I will use it anyway. The prayer יעלה ויבוא (Ya’aleh v’Yavo) is said during all Jewish holidays, and it turns out that it is the eighth paragraph that follows the קדושה (Kedushah). As it turns out, I actually found a good rendition of it online… albeit one that is very much elongated and repeated in this six-minute video. (There is a translation given in 4:25 of the video.)
This prayer was sung aloud four times in the last 28 hours during the יום כיפור (Yom Kippur) services, and the last one was the most moving. Let me explain…
The last service of יום כיפור is called נעילה (N’eilah), and the word literally means “locking.” The tradition is that the Gates of Heaven and Forgiveness remain open until the end of the נעילה service, which is symbolized by the Ark remaining open during the entire repetition of the final עמידה (Amidah). When I was younger, the instructions prior to the עמידה always grated on me (wording may be slightly off):
“The Ark remains open throughout the Hazzan’s repetition of the Amidah, during which it is customary to stand.”
Standing became less of a problem for me as I got older. In fact, in the last three years (this year included) at Northwestern Hillel, I have taken an opportunity for a moving experience.
Based off this idea of the Ark representing the Gates, they allow people to come in front of the Ark for personal prayers. I was in a short line, and I got the opportunity to enter in front of the Ark during this reading.
In the Louis Room of the Norris Center, the congregation faced east, overlooking Lake Michigan through the large windows. It is an excellent venue for introspection during the High Holidays, and it is especially moving when considering the interpretive line “The sun is low, the hour is late. Let us enter the gates at last.” (If photography were allowed on holidays, I would have had a picture of it, so the words that I present must suffice.)
The reflection of the sunset came over Lake Michigan, and the clouds of the day seemed to roll away. The prayer of Divine remembrance filled the large room. My personal prayers filled the space between myself and the Ark. It was my opportunity to enter into the new year with my innermost thoughts. It was much like my experience at the כותל (Western Wall / Wailing Wall).
There is always intense emotion in the High Holiday services, and as I have mentioned before, it has hit me a lot more in the last few years. And that is perfectly fine with me–showing emotional vulnerability and true self is a hallmark of the High Holidays.
Today is the two-hundred and seventy-seventh day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirty-nine weeks and four days.
Today is the eighty-second day of the Character Building Trial. That makes eleven weeks and five days.
Today is the fourth day of the third round of O.C.T.O.B.E.R.