“I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant, between Me, you and your descendants that follow you, to be a God for you and for your descendants. I will give the land of your sojourning, the whole land of Canaan to you and your descendants for everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
I will be writing a longer review of this beautiful mahzor over the coming months as I only received my copy a few days ago. However you may still have the opportunity to buy a copy, if not for Yom Ha’atzmaut, then in time for Yom Yerushalayim.
The Rabbis clearly understood that it is hard for us to relate to events of the past. All of our festivals are full of symbols and prayers, one aim of which is, to enable us to focus on, and indeed experience the events of our ancestors. This is most clearly evident in the recent festival of Passover. We are told that the Exodus from Egypt and the subsequent experience of Mount Sinai was one of, if not the key event in Jewish history (the story of creation is the other main event!). In order to relive the event we fill our table with symbols, we ask questions and we sing memorable songs.
However, it is far easier for us, the Jewish people, to remember or at least relate to the events of 1948 and 1967. Not only do many remember these incredible events, but also view them as modern day miracles of biblical proportions.
Two years ago I was thrilled to be given a copy of the Hebrew Mahzor for these two days and used it with pride and joy over the last two years. For the English speaking Jewish world it is invaluable to have access to this new Mahzor and in particular the essays that it contains. I have not, yet, had an opportunity to read them but the calibre of the writers can leave the reader in no doubt as to the value of this volume.
According to the Koren website “The essay section explores the theological, philosophical, and halakhic implications of the modern State of Israel. Contributors include: R. Yehuda Amital (zt”l), Dr. Erica Brown, R. Zvi Yehuda Kook (zt”l), R. Binyamin Lau, R. Mosheh Lichtenstein, R. Yitzhak Nissim (zt”l), R. Shlomo Riskin, R. Michael Rosensweig, R. Jonathan Sacks, R. Herschel Schachter, R. JJ Schacter, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik (zt”l), R. Moshe Taragin, R. Berel Wein, Dr. Yael Ziegler, and many more.”
I, for one, cannot wait to celebrate these days of miracles whilst praying for the complete redemption of the Jewish people using the Koren Mahzor. The essays will no doubt increase my feelings of joy and love towards the Land of Israel and the Jewish people.
“The Lord your God will return your captives and will have compassion upon you. He will return and gather you from among all the nations to which the Lord your God has scattered you. Even if your dispersed ones will be at the edge of the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and fetch you. The Lord your God will bring you to the land that your ancestors have inherited and you will possess it and He will do you good and multiply you more than your fathers.”