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.
This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.Support Hashivenu
- Listen to "Seder Ha'Avodah" by Ishay Ribo and follow along with the English translation
- Rabbi Deborah Waxman's High Holiday Video Teaching exploring the avodah service
- Explore Reconstructing Judaism's High Holiday Resources
- High Holiday Resources on Ritualwell
- From Evolve: "Breaking Open: A Paradigm for Jewish Prayer" by Rabbi Nathan Kamesar