Tonight commences Yom Kippur, the most consequential day of the Jewish calendar and the climax of the 10 Days of Repentance. For 25 hours, Jews the world over will fast and spend the bulk of their time immersed in prayer and reflection. As the sun goes down tomorrow night, the gates of heaven will close, and the fate of each individual will be sealed for the next year.
How does one internalize an event of such monumental importance? As Phish reminds us, music helps. Indeed, music, which features prominently in the Yom Kippur service, instigates a kind of sensual, emotional, and even intellectual ecstasy which many people might otherwise go a lifetime without experiencing. It has the capacity to alter one’s experience of time, to heighten his awareness of the permeable border between physical and psychological phenomena, to dull or even suspend his preoccupation with his embodied state.
This jam is based on a verse from the poem “Avinu Malkenu” (“Our Father, Our King”). Its rough translation is:
Our God, our King
Have compassion on us and answer us
For we are without deeds
Act upon us with righteousness and mercy
And save us