Monday, September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur

Bradley Burston has a fine piece in Haaretz, drawing lines of meaning between the cowardice, the vanity, the sin of boycotting Israel and this most sacred and observed of holidays:

This week we observe the ancient boycott known as Yom Kippur. We ask forgiveness for sins of a hardened heart, of judgmentalism and hatred, of a willful deceit of others and an unknowing deceit of ourselves.

For the sin of demanding that only others search their souls and repent. And for the sin of finding others guilty and passing sentence, without having the courage to allow the accused to face their accusers.

To the BDS people and their spiritual kin in Toronto, let me say just this: When you criticize Israel, for God's sake - if only for the Palestinians' sake - tell the truth. The whole truth. Not just your carefully composed cardboard cutout, the cartoon of the Jewish villain and the Arab martyr. And not from a distance.

Leonard Cohen was in Israel last week, in splendid form, from the report of it.

The liturgical, spiritual, introspective and biblical traits of Cohen's repertoire suited the pre-Yom Kippur timing of Thursday's performance well, with far too many poignant and resonant moments to enumerate here.

Descended from members of Judaism's priestly caste, Cohen concluded the concert by raising his hands and reciting the traditional Priestly Blessing, one of the anchors of the High Holy Day services in synagogues around the world.

One concert-goer was overheard smilingly and favorably comparing the experience to having been through Yom Kippur's arduous if elating prayer services, while others brought the liturgical link to more literal levels, taking the opportunity to convene for an Aravit prayer minyan in the intermission between the show's two halves.

This is the only youtube clip from the concert I could find, Hallelujah


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