Rabbi David Weissman
Many years ago, when I was in high school, I would send for tickets to be part of the live audience at various television programs. Among the programs I attended were the Ed Sullivan Show, the Paul Winchell (ventriloquist) and Jerry Mahoney (dummy) Show, the Texaco Star Theater (Milton Berle) Show and the Dunninger (mentalist) Show. Prior to each performance, a facilitator would warm up the audience for the show. He would tell some jokes to get the audience in a laughing mood. He would instruct the audience when to applaud and when to laugh and when to stop applauding and stop laughing. He might be called a “warm up” man. His job was to get the audience ready to watch the show and to participate by applauding and laughing.
The S’lichot service before the High Holidays is a “warm up” for the period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. It is designed to get us in the mood for the High Holidays.
The High Holidays are a time for personal reflection – a time for repentance and forgiveness. The High Holiday services are longer than our Friday evening and Saturdaymorning Shabbat services throughout the year. We use a special prayer book, called a Machzor in Hebrew, for the High Holidays. Many of the prayers call upon us to reflect on our behavior during the past year and inspire us to do better during the coming year (5779). The High Holiday melodies are different from the melodies used during the rest of the year.
This year, S’lichot, which means forgiveness, and is designed to prepare us for the High Holidays, will be held on Saturday evening, September 1st. The evening will begin at 8:00 P.M. with a social hour. EVERYONE ATTENDING IS ASKED TO BRING A SNACK (COOKIES, CAKE, PRETZELS, POTATO CHIPS, NUTS, FRUIT, ETC.) TO SHARE WITH OTHERS. The S’lichot service, which lasts less than forty minutes, will be held immediately following the social hour. It includes special prayers as well as some short selections from the Yom Kippur service featuring High Holiday music.
S’lichot provides an opportunity to socialize with other members of the Temple Shalom family and to “warm up” for the High Holidays.
I hope you will plan to attend.
Mary and I wish you a L’shana tova – a good year.