Seder for the end of Yom Kippur(Draft)
From Priesthood to Prophecy. Navigating through the Day of Atonement
The drama of Yom Kippur begins with our prophet Moses, moves on to the Priesthood of Aaron and ends with the two prophets Jonah and Elijah. The prophet Isaiah, the haftorah for the Day of Atonement, mediates our understanding of Aaron’s priestly service. In Hebrew we refer to the Day of Atonement as Yom Hakippurim, in the plural, read Day of Atonements. The Revelation of Moses on the Mountain must be brought down to earth. On earth Aaron and other priests must confront the want of the people to dance around gilded idols. This atonement is the domain of religion. Sacrifice, incense, and prayer are the domains of the Priest. In Leviticus the scapegoats facilitate atonement. Affliction and fasting are commanded in the priestly code. The prophet teaches the true meaning of the day. Without the prophetic reading of Isaiah the Yom Kippur service is mere ritual. Until we plumb the depths with Jonah Yom Kippur remains a mystery. Elijah the prophet arrives at the very last moments of the day, navigating us to the truth that “The Lord alone is God.” This is also the essence of the Torah of Moses, which we accept with The Second Set of Tablets.
The Yom Kippur Service described in Leviticus Chapter sixteen I read as a lesson in history, not the ideal for worship. I do not dream of a return to scapegoats and sacrifice. We sanctify the past by learning from it and not by always repeating. In this case transcending the past is a reasonable goal. We have no Temple, or altar, but we do have Isaiah, Jonah, Elijah, and Repentance.
Yizkor: Memorial Service
This is The Day, one day a year devoted entirely to atonement with God and humanity. God leads the way by teaching kindness empathy and forgiving. This is the day when our hands let go of jealousy and our hearts open to being better neighbors and to love. This is the day we alight and see things as angels. As penitents we redesign our lives and recreate ourselves.
During the 40 years our people were in the dessert Aaron was able to enter the Holy of Holies at any time. We all live in a wilderness of words and the thought of death leaves us mute. We have no priests or prophets, but we do have their teachings.
At this moment of remembrance, now High Priests of our own existence, we enter the holy of holies of a memorial to all the immortal souls who rest in Peace under the wings of The Shechinah. We pray that we will leave the wilderness of being lost souls by learning from their virtues.
At this time we will have a moment of silence to meditate on our loved ones who
are no longer living.
(If you are in a group, tell stories that give a glimpse into what your departed had
God, Yizkor the soul of ——– who has moved on to the next World. They are
under your divine wings and their example shines forth like the light of creation.
They live on as we remember. Their atonement will one day be our atonement.
May they rest in Peace. Amen.
Yitgadal Vayitkadash shmay raba
Great and Holy is Gods Name, teaching
From life to death to eternal life,
This is God’s will.
Establish Your Rule in our life, while we are living
For all humanity, and for the people Israel and say. Amen.
May Your Great Name be proclaimed now and forever
Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and
pronounced be the Name of The Holy One, even though no prayers or
consolations spoken in the world have the eloquence of the angels, still we affirm
by saying. Tell us your name.
May we and all people experience heaven on earth as we say with one voice.
May the Peace and perfection inherent in creation be experienced by all as we say
once again, Amen.
Be not afraid of any terror
Or the coming storms of evil.
Their plots and plans shall not prevail
For God is with us.
Even when old and white headed I will sustain you.
I have made you .I will carry you. I will wait. I will save you.
May this remembrance teach us to be better people as it foreshadows our own
Read the Book of Jonah. (Go to top ten websites or google or yahoo on your own)
From the depths to the Arête: Ten meditations on Jonah
Is this a true story? A dream? May we learn truth from a dream?
Jonah in Hebrew is Yonah a dove. Is Jonah, like Noah, content to save himself in his Ark?
In verse one Jonah is called ben Amittai, son of Amittai. The Rabbis read this to mean a son of truth, referencing The First Book of Kings 17:24. This means that Jonah is the child Elijah resurrected from the dead. Does Jonah act like a disciple of Elijah? Was he a true prophet? Did his prophecies come true?
The renowned psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow is remembered for his description of peak experiences and gave us a view from the Arête. He also spoke of a Jonah syndrome, one we all suffer when we do not reach the heights of our potential and fall into the depths of despair. In the Book that has his name everyone (even the beasts of the field) repent. Did Jonah? We do not hear his response to Gods question. What do you think Jonah said?
Our response to Jonah?
What were the Rabbis thinking, choosing the universal message that all people who repent will be forgiven for Yom Kippur? If this is true why don’t we invite our gentile friends to celebrate Yom Kippur with us?
That’s this year, next year we will organize a Yom Kippur service for all our gentile friends.
For The Very End of Yom Kippur. A Seder Welcoming Elijah
Our tables are set yet we have no food for we will not eat until the arrival of Elijah.
Lift Elijah’s cup and say: This is the Cup of Elijah. I will now fill the cup with wine for Elijah who is coming in his own good time.
Elijah comes to bridge the generation gap, to turn the hearts of parents to children and children to parents.
Elijah comes to bridge the religion gap, to teach the word repeated by his disciple Jonah that the heart of The Jew must turn toward the Christian and the Christian to the Jew.
(Lift the two loaves that will be broken to break the fast)
This is the bread of the humble who seek the face of God and the meaning of the Seder of the mystery. Let every one who seeks wisdom enter and eat. Let all who starve for meaning learn to eat these words. This year we are here. Next year we will begin when we understand that the entire world may become the Holy Land.
On this Day of Atonement we have asked that we be forgiven as the children of Israel were forgiven in the time of Moses. We have heard Gods response to the prayer of Moses; we are forgiven according to our words and deeds. We have heard The Torah of Aaron’s Yom Kippur worship in ancient times and Isaiah’s explanation of the true fasting required by our Maker. We have sailed with Jonah into the depths of depression as he is swallowed by Leviathan. We await the coming redemption of humanity knowing that the story of Jonah is still the key.
Government of people without the true leader (God) has lead to tyranny, as it did in the days of the kings of Judah and Israel. In those days Elijah the prophet arose and announced the evil of The King Ahab. King Ahab sinned more than his father King Omri who sinned more than his father king Jeroboam. Even with this steady decline and descent of the Kings of Israel, in the end Ahab repented after Elijah’s defeat of the enemies of Israel at Mt. Carmel. Jezebel, his queen, is another story. Jezebel was the power behind the throne. She is the personification of amoral leadership. Her table was the meeting place of those who wished to kill Elijah and his disciples. Her power was independent of the King. Jezebel ordered Elijah’s murder after he defeated the pagan priests. A prophet who challenges the powers that be must always be in fear for their life. The prophetic revolution begins with this story and Elijah’s understanding based on Gods revelation that through disciples like Elisha Jonah and the Messiah the tradition of speaking truth to tyranny continues. The genius of the Rabbi’s is clear in their insistence that Isaiah Jonah and Elijah be part of the Yom Kippur service.
(Someone is knocking on our door!)
All:Could it be Elijah?
All: Baruch Haba Rebbe! Welcome. Blessings come with you Rebbe!
O, Elijah for forty days we have prepared for your coming! You are our great hero and we want to know when you will announce the coming redemption? When will the Redeemer come to Zion? Who is the Messiah?
Is today the day?
Elijah: Yes, today is the day if this has been a day of atonement for you.
Have you done Tikkun Olam? Have you put your pieces of the broken covenant back together again? Are the Ten teachings now engraved within your heart? Have you experienced the freedom inherent in revelation?
Wise child. I thought you were the answer man and we get to ask the questions.
Elijah (smiling). Actually I am the revealer of secrets. One finds wisdom in the strength of their questions. I begin with a question. My name reveals my essence. What does my name mean?
Wise child: I know. I know. “Elijah” is a mangling of the Hebrew. Your name is A lee ya who. It means My God is Ya.
Wise child. Ya. Ya. Yes. The Lord. The Holy One. The name of God we do not pronounce. Y.H.V.H. The name mispronounced Jehovah, or Yawe, or Ya way.
Elijah. Excellent. How does my name transmit my teachings?
Wise child :(beaming) This was my Haftorah. When we read in the Torah about Moses second ascent up the mountain your story is the Haftorah prophetic reading.
I should have known. We always expected you at our Passover Seder. When I was very young I think one year you came and had a sip from your cup. Now it all makes sense. Once we accept the teachings of the Tablets of Atonement you appear.
In fact your story is the final haftorah of Yom Kippur! The First Book of Kings. Chapter 18. Chai. We are to live by the teachings. Listen. This teaching is real: Y.H.V.H., Ya, is God. Ya. Alone. A lee ya who. This Elijah teaches.
Elijah: I could not have said it better myself. Continue.
Well, the prophets who were your students had to hide from Jezebel. She wanted to kill all of you. She had nine hundred and fifty false prophets at her table. The table is the place we either embrace dead doctrines or order our table into an altar with a sacred meal dedicated to Gods teachings of wisdom.
The same is true of community worship. The children of Israel gathered around Mt Carmel just as they had surrounded Moses during the revelation at Sinai. Similar to Moses you asked:
“How long will you hop between two opinions?
If God is Lord keep the covenant,
If Baal rules join with Jezebel.”
Then you set up a cool miracle.
The priests of Baal tried to sacrifice an ox, but it did not ignite. Dead meat.
Then you ordered our people to draw near as you repaired the broken altar. Twelve stones were used as reminder that the Tribes must be one as our God is one.
Then you prayed:
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.
I do this for you.
Answer me so the people know
You alone are Lord, O God.
Then, I am not sure what the Hebrew means, but you said something like: ”For you have turned their hearts backward”
Elijah: But what did I mean?
Wise child: You’re asking me? They are your words!
Elijah: True. I prayed, like Moses, Lord, Lord, only you can turn their hearts back to you again. They have little faith. They need a sign.
Simple child: and God burnt the offering and you won. I remember this is the last thing we say on Yom Kippur. Seven times. “The Lord is Our God.”
And that’s your name. Elijah. I was listening.
Child who knows how to question: But isn’t this depending on a miracle?
Elijah. Yes, and even though we are not to depend on a miracle, according to the Rabbis, my life became a miracle.
I fled for my life after Mt. Carmel. The King repented, but his Queen wanted my disciples’ dead and me dead. I ran for forty days toward the mountain of Moses. I was broken and angry. I felt abandoned by God. I thought I had failed my mission. Then I understood that my disciples would continue my work.
Child who knows how to question: Today we read once again the Book of Jonah, one of your disciples. Did he follow in your footsteps? Did you pray that Jezebel and Ahab and the false prophets of Baal would repent?
Elijah. Yes. Remember Ahab did repent.
Child who knows how to question: Would you have been happy if Jezebel repented?
Child who knows how to question:Then what was Jonahs problem?
Wise child: Maybe the same as Moses and our Elijah. Like Jonah Moses wanted to die at one point in his life. Elijah you also wanted to die, thinking you were the only survivor of those who worshiped God.
Child who knows how to question: Moses wanted to die if God did not forgive. Jonah was in despair because the Ninevites were forgiven. Elijah can speak for himself.
Elijah: Yes. When Jonah awoke from his despair he was given a second chance. He did his job as a prophet. God has the last word in the book of Jonah. God says even those nations whose leaders have the intelligence of beasts and are pagan idolaters will one day dwell in peace with Israel. Jonah understood but kept silent. I thank God for the Book of Jonah for it is the portal to atonement.
Wise child. We are given a second chance like Jonah. No matter how far we have wandered and how many circles we have danced around the golden calf The Lord who is our God is ready to forgive.
All: Yes. This is the message of the day.
The simple child. I have one more question. On Passover you, Elijah ,A lee ya who do not appear until we stand and say how angry we are. Are we angry with God? Was Jonah?
Elijah: In every generation our enemies have tried to put an end to our people. We are told that we must wait for our redeemer even though every delay means more persecution. We feel forsaken and forgotten. Many also feel abandoned by God.
I am the messenger and this is the message:
Be strong and let your heart fill with courage. Strengthen one another. Weekly you recite the prophets’ wisdom. Now live by that wisdom. The Lord our God is a merciful God. The Lord who is God will redeem us from degradation. The world will embrace true religion. All will be given a choice. Each and every one of you must announce my message: Choose life. L Chai em.
I will announce the Redeemer who is coming to Zion, who will announce that the Lord alone is God. The Lord alone is King. The Lord alone is Minister. The Lord alone is our Messiah.
God alone will anoint the leader I am simply the announcer.
A Moses, the Messiah will teach from the mountain of the Lord.
From Zion Isaiah’s teaching will go forth that nation will not lift up arms against nation as we experience an end to all war.
Sound a Tekiah Gedolah on the Shofar.
Elijah lifts his cup.
“This is the Cup of Atonement and the coming redemption. This is the cup of our great leader. I drink from this cup of sanctification at every meal that is an offering to the God who is a true God. The All Merciful has sent me to declare the good news of the bridging of the generation gap. Peace on earth begins with Peace in the home. Redraw the circle of your family. Every human is your sister or brother. Redraw your maps with Jerusalem in the center and with all lands called Holy. Next year may we all live in this land, our inheritance when we are all righteous.
Shalom to the North.
Shalom to the East.
Shalom to the West.
Shalom to the South.
The Torah from Zion.
The meal to break the fast is served.
(Our Table talk Torah focuses on how to construct our Sukkah of Shalom and the Heros we invite as our Ushpizin.)