NOTE: Each day from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur I will be posting an inspiring Jewish text along with a few questions for reflection. Feel free to answer and discuss here, or to use these questions for your own reflection/journaling. These texts are also being posted on my Facebook page
TEXT 10 – Untaneh Tokef Prayer (From the High Holy Day Prayerbook)
Let us proclaim the power of this day – it is awesome and full of dread.
On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed:
How many will pass away from this world, and how many will be born to it.
Who will live and who will die.
Who will reach ripeness of age and who will be taken before their time.
But repentance, prayer, and righteous giving temper the harshness of the decree.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- The Untaneh Tokef prayer presents a troubling image of God deciding each person’s fate on Yom Kippur. Most of us don’t believe this literally. Why do you suppose this image is such a central part of the High Holy Days?
- What do you think it means that actions like repentance, prayer, and righteous giving can “temper” the severity of our troubles? Do you agree?