Yom Kippur: A Celebration of Collective Release

Episode 501 · September 12th, 2023 · 38 mins 40 secs

About this Episode

In ancient times on Yom Kippur, the high priest of Israel presided over an elaborate, mystical service atop the Temple Mount. Today, many traditional synagogues recount this ritual with the avodah service. In this episode, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., speaks with Rabbi Vivie Mayer about what the avodah service — which they acknowledge is mainly attended by the “die-hards” — can teach us today. “What Yom Kippur is really enacting and celebrating is collective release,” Mayer says. The two discuss what it means to move from the most intense, holy day of the year to the mundane business of daily life and how to bring insights from the former to the later. They delve into the differences between individual and collective atonement and responsibility; wondering about the collective release and catharsis offered by practices of the Second Temple era. They also lift up a contemporary Israeli song, “Seder Ha'Avodah” by Ishay Ribo.

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This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.

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