Prayer and Liturgy

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Ritual Re-enactments: Part 1, Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah

Posted: 09/08/2020
Ritual Re-enactments: Part 1, Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah
This series will focus on core pieces of the Selichot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur liturgies. Specifically, we will explore the roles that our liturgy asks us to step into on these days and at these key moments. This class aims to enrich participants' experiences of these special tefillot, particularly in a year where many will be praying at home or in truncated synagogue services. In this first session we will explore the Thirteen Middot, the liturgical backbone of Selichot. As we look at the Torah texts that the Selichot draw upon and interpretations of those texts in the Talmud Bavli and commentators, we will dive head-first into the moment the Thirteen Middot were revealed and discuss how to reenact that moment as we step into the role of Moshe in our recitation of Selichot.
Does the Book of Tehillim Tell A Story?

Posted: 09/16/2020
Does the Book of Tehillim Tell A Story?
The Annual Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holidays Lecture Sponsored by the Rudoff family on the occasion of the 29th yahrtzeit of their father, Stanley of blessed memory. The Book of Tehillim is traditionally regarded as an anthology of 150 distinct compositions. Is there an idea that underlies the order of these chapters? Does the book's design convey purpose or a story? In this shiur, we will examine the shape of the book of Tehillim, employing a close reading of the language of the psalms in a bid to uncover the book's overarching structure and meaning.
Structure and Meaning in the High Holiday Liturgy, Part 4

Posted: 09/13/2020
Structure and Meaning in the High Holiday Liturgy, Part 4
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 3

Posted: 09/06/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 3

This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.

The Kapparah of Yom Kippur, Part 2

Posted: 09/03/2020
The Kapparah of Yom Kippur, Part 2

Yom Kippur is literally "the Day of Atonement." But how does that atonement come about: Is it dependent on the bringing of Korbanot? Does Yom Kippur still atone today? Need one observe the day of Yom Kippur in order to achieve atonement? What does this process of atonement tell us about the holiest day of the year?

This series examines a variety of sources in classic rabbinic literature, examining the issue from a variety of perspectives.

This Shiur will treat the question, discussed in Yoma 85b-86a, of whether Yom Kippur atones by itself or only when accompanied by repentance. This essential question, interpreted in a variety of ways by the Rishonim, has major ramifications for how to understand the Day of Yom Kippur overall.
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 2

Posted: 08/30/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 2
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
In this session we continue with the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot.
The Kapparah of Yom Kippur, Part 1

Posted: 08/27/2020
The Kapparah of Yom Kippur, Part 1

Yom Kippur is literally "the Day of Atonement." But how does that atonement come about: Is it dependent on the bringing of Korbanot? Does Yom Kippur still atone today? Need one observe the day of Yom Kippur in order to achieve atonement? What does this process of atonement tell us about the holiest day of the year?

This series examines a variety of sources in classic rabbinic literature, examining the issue from a variety of perspectives.

Shiur 1: We will undertake a close analysis of the relevant Pesukim in Vayikra 16:29-34 that discuss the significance of the day of Yom Kippur for those achieving atonement. It will raise the question of who is responsible for carrying out the atonement and set the stage for analysis of the Gemara’s views on this issue.

Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 1

Posted: 08/23/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 1
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.
Of Bnei Brak, Balconies, and Barchu: The Recent Debate on Counting for a Minyan

Posted: 04/27/2020
Of Bnei Brak, Balconies, and Barchu: The Recent Debate on Counting for a Minyan
With quarantine and shelter-in-place guidelines enforced, our daily routines have been wildly affected and questions on how to still maintain our religious observances abound. Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier explores some of the pressing and timely halakhic questions that have arisen during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Rabbi David Silber: Major Prayers Of The Festivals 7/23/09

Posted: 01/12/2013
Rabbi David Silber: Major Prayers Of The Festivals 7/23/09
Rabbi David Silber: Major Prayers Of The Festivals 7/16/09

Posted: 01/12/2013
Rabbi David Silber: Major Prayers Of The Festivals 7/16/09
Ne’ilah: Ends and Beginnings

Posted: 10/06/2019
Ne’ilah: Ends and Beginnings
The Neilah prayer, the last of the five Yom Kippur Tefillot, is recited at the waning moments of the holiest day of the year. Exploring a range of liturgical, Talmudic and Halakhic texts, we will consider how Neilah serves to carry over Yom Kippur into the rest of the year. Located at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, 125 East 85th Street | New York, NY This lecture is free and open to the public, but please register in advance. Sponsored by the Rudoff family on the occasion of the 28th yahrzeit of Stanley Rudoff z”l.  
Viduy and Selichot: Process of Effective Teshuva

Posted: 10/03/2019
Viduy and Selichot: Process of Effective Teshuva
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Fast of Gedalia: Restoration and Reconnection

Posted: 09/27/2019
Fast of Gedalia: Restoration and Reconnection
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Dimensions of the Shofar

Posted: 09/27/2019
Dimensions of the Shofar
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Selichot: A Structured Additional Service

Posted: 09/27/2019
Selichot: A Structured Additional Service
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Viduy as a Path to Teshuva

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy as a Path to Teshuva
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Viduy of Ne’ilah

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy of Ne’ilah

The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.

   
Viduy: Sacrifice and Atonement

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy: Sacrifice and Atonement
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Tefillot of Yom Kippur, Part 1

Posted: 09/12/2019
Tefillot of Yom Kippur, Part 1
This series is a study of the core themes of Yom Kippur as reflected in the classical texts of the holiday service.  A careful study of the basic components of this complex service will enable you to have a more meaningful and reflective Yom Kippur experience.
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 1

Posted: 09/12/2019
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 1
A study of the core themes of Rosh Hashana as reflected through the classical texts of the Rosh Hashana service. The goal of these classes is to deepen our understanding of the Rosh Hashana prayers to allow for a more meaningful and reflective holiday.
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Overview

Posted: 08/04/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Overview
Part 3 - "Select Kinot" is part of the podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections”
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Arzei Halevanon

Posted: 08/04/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Arzei Halevanon
Part 3 - "Select Kinot" is part of the podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections” Rabbi Silber discusses the poem about the 10 martyrs,  ארזי הלבנון אדירי התורה
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Works of Eliezer Hakalir (2)

Posted: 08/04/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Works of Eliezer Hakalir (2)
Part 3 - "Select Kinot" is part of the podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections” Rabbi Silber discusses the work of Eliezer Hakalir קול ברמה השמיעו לבכה מזה ועל מה זה הקרנו כה
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Zion

Posted: 08/04/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Zion
Part 3 - "Select Kinot" is part of the podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections” Rabbi Silber discusses the kinot about Zion by Rabbi Yehuda Halevi - and others - that are often found at the end of the kinot collections.
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Works of Eliezer Hakalir (1)

Posted: 08/04/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Select Kinot, Works of Eliezer Hakalir (1)
Part 3 - "Select Kinot" is part of the podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections” Rabbi Silber discusses the work of Eliezer Hakalir איכה  את אשר כבר עשוהו. תבע מני לגבות נשיהו
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Introduction for the 3 Weeks (2)

Posted: 07/19/2019
Preparing for Tisha B’Av – Studies and Reflections: Introduction for the 3 Weeks (2)
The Three Weeks – Bein hametzarim, Within the Straits – culminate in Tisha B’Av, a day of communal mourning and contemplation, and encourage us to think deeply about what is missing in our personal and communal lives.
In this spirit, Drisha presents a podcast series titled, “Preparing for Tisha B’Av - Studies and Reflections”
Holy King: Music and Meaning in the Tefillot of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/18/2017
Holy King: Music and Meaning in the Tefillot of Rosh Hashana
Here Dr. Chaim Kranzler and Rabbi David Silber sing and discuss the highlights of the Rosh Hashana service.
Selichot, part 1: Lishmoa El HaRina VeEl HaTefilla- Supplication and Prayer

Posted: 01/12/2013
Selichot, part 1: Lishmoa El HaRina VeEl HaTefilla- Supplication and Prayer
Click here for more in this series. The structure of selichot and the Ashkenazi practice of starting selichot on a Saturday night--BeMotza'ei Menucha  
Zichronot: Memory, Judgement and Covenant, Understanding the Central Prayer of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Zichronot: Memory, Judgement and Covenant, Understanding the Central Prayer of Rosh Hashana
In this session, we will look at the themes of memory, judgement, and covenant in Zichronot (verses of remembrance), one of the three blessings we add to musaf on Rosh Hashana.
Becoming a Sage and Efficacious Prayer in the Ancient Jewish Diaspora

Posted: 15/02/2016
Becoming a Sage and Efficacious Prayer in the Ancient Jewish Diaspora
Themes of Yom Kippur as Reflected in Our Liturgy

Posted: 01/12/2013
Themes of Yom Kippur as Reflected in Our Liturgy
Through an examination of the Yom Kippur prayer service, we will uncover major themes of the holiday.
Themes of Rosh Hashana as Reflected in Our Liturgy (part 1 of a 2-session class)

Posted: 01/12/2013
Themes of Rosh Hashana as Reflected in Our Liturgy (part 1 of a 2-session class)
Click here to listen to the second session. Through an examination of the Rosh Hashana prayer service, we will uncover major themes of the holiday.
Songs of My Beloved: A Musical Celebration of Shir HaShirim

Posted: 04/16/2015
Songs of My Beloved: A Musical Celebration of Shir HaShirim
Praying through the Bible: An Exploration of Liturgical Language

Posted: 14/10/2015
Praying through the Bible: An Exploration of Liturgical Language
After exploring the various ways Jewish liturgy integrates Bible into our received prayers, we will examine how our community constructs prayers to respond to new circumstances today. Celebrating the publication of the Jewish Study Bible (2nd edition).
Confession and Repentance (part 1 of a 3-session course)

Posted: 01/12/2013
Confession and Repentance (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. We will look at a variety of biblical and rabbinic texts relating to the act of confession and the role of repentance.  
Piyyutim of the High Holidays (part 1 of a 3-session course)

Posted: 09/04/2014
Piyyutim of the High Holidays (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. High holiday services often seem dominated by intricate, often difficult to understand, liturgical poetry (piyyutim). We explore various piyyutim, uncovering layers of biblical and midrashic allusions.  
The Binder, the Bound, and the Altar: The Akeidah in High Holiday Liturgy

Posted: 01/12/2013
The Binder, the Bound, and the Altar: The Akeidah in High Holiday Liturgy
In this overview of the Zichronot section of our Rosh Hashana liturgy, we ask - why is remembrance so important to God's yearly judgement?
The Broken Sounds of the Shofar

Posted: 14/10/2014
The Broken Sounds of the Shofar
The Shofar is often thought of as a "word-less prayer". How might that model impact our everyday experience of tefilah?
Body and Soul: Understanding the Asceticism of Yom Kippur (part 1 of a 3-session course)

Posted: 07/08/2015
Body and Soul: Understanding the Asceticism of Yom Kippur (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. What is the connection between the restrictions of Yom Kippur and repentance? How do they help us achieve atonement?  
Prayer and Human Needs: R. Soloveitchik and Other Recent Thinkers

Posted: 04/02/2014
Prayer and Human Needs: R. Soloveitchik and Other Recent Thinkers
In praying for ourselves we become sensitized to the needs of others. What are the values that we extract from our prayers?
Words Filled with Light: Hasidic Mystical Reflections on Kavvanah and Contemplative Prayer

Posted: 03/29/2014
Words Filled with Light: Hasidic Mystical Reflections on Kavvanah and Contemplative Prayer
An analysis of meditative practices adding to the experience of prayer.
Less Ego, More God: R. Abraham Joshua Heschel in Conversation with Hasidic Masters and Christian Mystics on the Spiritual Project of Prayer

Posted: 14/04/2015
Less Ego, More God: R. Abraham Joshua Heschel in Conversation with Hasidic Masters and Christian Mystics on the Spiritual Project of Prayer
An exploration of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's outlook on how self-transcendence as a means of connection to God can be achieved through the values instilled by prayer.
Shabbat Prayer

Posted: 01/12/2013
Shabbat Prayer
In this podcast, Rabbi Silber discusses the Amidah of Shabbat.
Kol Nidre: An Analysis of Its True Significance

Posted: 09/12/2013
Kol Nidre: An Analysis of Its True Significance
Kol Nidre, a nullification of vows, is one of the prayer highlights of the year. Why? We will explore the nature of Kol Nidre and uncover the great significance of this prayer.
Prayers of Yom Kippur: Me’erev ad erev

Posted: 01/12/2013
Prayers of Yom Kippur: Me’erev ad erev
Through an analysis of the five prayers of Yom Kippur, this podcast explores the concepts of Yom Kippur as they emerge from the service.
God of Whose Fathers? Converts to Judaism and the Language of Prayer

Posted: 07/11/2014
God of Whose Fathers? Converts to Judaism and the Language of Prayer
Jewish prayer seeks universality, yet reflects particularity through its focus on a national patriarchal heritage. Where does a convert to Judaism fit into this language of prayer?
Biblical Insights on the Morning Blessings: From Eden to Isaiah to Socrates

Posted: 14/11/2015
Biblical Insights on the Morning Blessings: From Eden to Isaiah to Socrates
We are so familiar with the morning blessings in the Siddur that we often recite them by rote, without paying attention to their deeper meaning. In our session, we will discuss the Biblical (and sometimes Greek) origins of these blessings to better appreciate their underlying message and how they form a wonderful way to ‘start the day.’
The Rock Whose Ways are Great: Blessing God in Times of Tragedy

Posted: 11/01/2012
The Rock Whose Ways are Great: Blessing God in Times of Tragedy
An exploration of midrashic tales of dismay and righteous responses to tragic fates.
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses

Posted: 14/11/2015
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses
How is the Selichot service different from our regular prayer service? Through analysis of its structure, key sections and themes, this podcast explores Selichot's Biblical roots and Rabbinic history in order to better understand its purpose and meaning.  Part of The Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor

Posted: 09/04/2011
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor
It can be difficult enough just to follow the prayer service on Rosh Hashana, let alone to understand what is going on in the Makhzor. We will explain the basic biblical concepts that lay behind our special High Holiday prayers, focusing primarily on the structure and basic themes of the lengthy Musaf service.
Prayers of Yom Kippur (part 1 of 2 sessions)

Posted: 01/12/2013
Prayers of Yom Kippur (part 1 of 2 sessions)
Click here to listen to the other class session. We say more prayers on Yom Kippur than on any other day on the Jewish calendar. We will discuss several unique features in the prayers of Yom Kippur.
Prayers of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Prayers of Rosh Hashana
We will discuss the prayers of Rosh Hashana.
Voices of Our Fathers: The Patriarchs and Today’s Challenge of Prayer

Posted: 21/04/2017
Voices of Our Fathers: The Patriarchs and Today’s Challenge of Prayer
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah

Posted: 09/14/2009
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah
Our High Holiday prayers assume that each individual is judged by God on Rosh Hashana, and that judgment is then sealed on Yom Kippur. Hence, the goal of our prayers is to "transform" the Judge's opinion in our favor. By distinguishing between "comprehension" and "intention" we will undertake a closer examination of prayer in both the siddur and machzor to show how its primary goal may focus much more on the "transformation" of the petitioner.
Major Prayers of the Jewish Festivals (part 1 of 3 sessions)

Posted: 07/09/2009
Major Prayers of the Jewish Festivals (part 1 of 3 sessions)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. The class will focus on the festival amidah and hallel and the prayers for rain and dew.
Approaches to Prayer

Posted: 01/12/2013
Approaches to Prayer
We will examine a variety of approaches to the nature of payer and its significance through a study of classical and modern sources.
How the Bible Influences the Siddur

Posted: 14/11/2015
How the Bible Influences the Siddur
Piyyutim of Shabbat

Posted: 14/01/2016
Piyyutim of Shabbat
Liturgical Poems grace the Shabbat prayers and the Shabbat table. We will examine the texts and learn beautiful musical renditions for two Shabbat piyyutim.
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf

Posted: 14/11/2015
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf
Malchiot, declaring God's Kingdom, emerges as one of the central themes of our prayers on Rosh Hashana. We will begin by tracing the concept of malchiot in the Bible and its relation to the Covenant between God and His People. We will then study the malchiot section of musaf, which is introduced by Aleinu Leshabayach.
Divine Time and Human Time: Modes of Sanctification- The Meaning of Keriyat Shema

Posted: 14/03/2017
Divine Time and Human Time: Modes of Sanctification- The Meaning of Keriyat Shema
The puzzling arrangement of the laws of Keriyat Shema in Berachot Chapters 1-3 reveal the different ways in which man invests divinely ordained times with human meaning. How do the Sages of the Mishnah think frameworks of sanctity should be integrated with or separated from everyday social settings? Part of Drisha's Winter Week of Learning 2005, dedicated in memory of Rifka Rosenwein, z”l.