Thursday, September 27, 2012

Post-Yom-Kippur notes and report

Here's what I learned this year, and will add to my notes:

  • Spotted in Selichot (and Neilah?)--Avraham Avinu/Abraham Our Father is also known as Eitan (alef, tav, yod, nun?).  Why?  What does Eitan mean?  I'd certainly appreciate it if some of my more learned readers could enlighten me.
  • Do not davven Minchah (pray the Afternoon Service) before Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement on the subway ride home--Minchah on Erev Yom Kippur includes the "Long" Vidui/Confessional "Al Chet sheh-chatanu l'fanecha/"For the sin that we have sinned before You . . . "!  Davven as soon as possible after arriving home (but before eating your pre-fast meal/seder ha-mafseket!).
  • Minchah on Yom Kippur also includes Avinu Malkenu, as does every Shacharit/Morning Service and every Minchah during the Aseret Y'mei T'shuvah/Ten Days of Repentence between Rosh HaShanah/New Year and Yom Kippur.  The jury's still out on this--my cantor and High Holiday rabbi say that Avinu Malkenu should only be said with a minyan, but two of my colleagues (one Ashkenazi, one Sefardi) say that they always pray this prayer, even when davvening bi-y'chidut/praying alone.  Is this a question of halachah/Jewish religious law or of minhag/custom?
  • The Thirteen Attributes of G-d (HaShem, HaShem, Kel rachum v'chanun) appear twice during the Neilah Service.  To the best of my recollection, this is the only time that this quote (Sh'mot/Exodus 34:6 and part of 7) is recited twice in one service.
Just out of curiousity, I timed the silent Amidah prayer of Musaf on Yom Kippur, and found that we took roughly 15 minutes.  Is that typical?

This wasn't one of my easier fasts--I was sufficiently off-balance by the end of the Musaf Service that I didn't think I'd be able to continue the fast if I walked home and back during the afternoon break, so I stayed in shul for the first time in years.  I also thought it wise not to stand for the entire Neilah Service, a first for me.  Oh, well, at least I made it through the fast.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 update:

I sent my questions via e-mail to my "G-d Squad" list of rabbis, rabbinical students, cantors, cantorial students, and Torah scholars, and received one reply, thus far.

""Eitan" means "foundation" which is poetically applied to Abraham as the foundation/founder of Monotheism and the Jewish people.

My personal/family custom is not to say Avinu Malkeinu when davening in private. Additionally, I don't say the long tachnun for Monday/Thursday mornings, or tachnun in mincha at all, without a minyan either.
I believe these minhagim are of "nusach sefard" (chassidic) origin, although they may be just personal family practices. Unfortunately there is nobody for me to confirm this with anymore, but "minhag avoseynu biyadeynu" (our ancestors customs are in our hands).

Be well and g'mar tov!

Elie" (formerly [?] of Elie's Expositions)

Rav todot/many thanks, Elie!  Avraham Avinu certainly is a fine foundation for the Jewish People.

As for Avinu Malkeinu, I don't what the minhag of my ancestors was, unfortunately, since neither of my parents (l'shalom) ever davvened bi-y'chidut,  but this answer may work for some of my readers.


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