Surrounded by Big Things: Jonah, Harvey, and Yom Kippur

One of the things we might notice about Jonah is that he’s a little hard to follow: one minute, minding his own business, in his own land, and next thing he’s on the way to Joppa, on the ship, in the hold, tossed out into the sea, in the fish’s belly; then in Nineveh; and finally sitting outside the city arguing with God about a gourd. In honor of Jonah and his varied travels, these remarks go a number of different places, and, in an even deeper homage to Jonah, I can’t really promise that we’ll understand the point in the end. But I do hope it will be an interesting ride.
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Maybe: Janis Joplin, the Chantels, and Jonah

“Maybe” is not always comfortable in a world that values black and white, in or out, yes or no. But the Book of Jonah, recited on Yom Kippur afternoon, suggests that coming to terms with “maybe” is a key lesson of these days between “it is written” and “it is sealed.” And two musical approaches to “Maybe” help illuminate Jonah’s struggles with concept.
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Ki Tisa: A Path to Follow

Adonai, Adonai, el rachum v’chanun…” — Exodus/Shemot 34:6-7

The soul is part of God. And therefore when the soul calls out to God in prayer, part of God is, as it were, calling out to God’s own self. So, when our text says that God passed by Moses’ face, it means that Moses was overcome by reverence and filled with fear and love. And just this is the reason that the word “Adonai” is repeated. The first mentioning of “Adonai” is actually the aspect of God within Moses calling to its other, universal presence. Continue Reading