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Songs of our Own

Mishpacha Contributors

The prayers of Rosh Hashanah elevate us, connect us, and remind us of who we really are.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The words of the machzor are alike, the Krias HaTorah identical, the shofars sound more or less the same wherever you may pray. But still, there is a certain wordless tune that plays in your mind as you sway, a hum that springs off your lips at intervals during the season that reflects the essence of your personal Yamim Noraim tefillos.There is something about the liturgy, the traditions, the cadence and rhythm of the nusach of these days that sears itself onto your soul. If you hear a note of the tefillos during the rest of the year, your heartbeat quickens as recollections of the joyful awe that characterizes these days wash over you.Because universal as it is, it’s also personal. Each inflection, lilt, and beat is important. The YamimNoraimtefillos connect us to the reality: lyrical text, layered with meaning, which we use to plead for life itself.A talmid of Rav Yitzchok Hutner recounted how his rosh yeshivah would hum a niggun during his own recitation of the Shemoneh Esreh of Rosh Hashanah Mussaf. “We understood,” the talmid recalled, “that the Rosh Yeshivah was going on a journey. He was remembering the experiences reflected in the pesukim, he was at Maamad Har Sinai, in the Beis Hamikdash, seeing destruction and rebirth, following his King into a desert, a land not sown. With his niggun, he took us along.”

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