September 19, 2014 – 24 Elul 5774

For more years than I care to count I have been privileged to be the chazzan (cantor) for yomin noriam (the High Holidays). I have always regarded it as both a great privilege and awesome responsibility. For it is my duty to offer the prayers of this community before the King of Kings as he sits in judgment on each and every individual. It is a responsibility that I take very seriously and for which I prepare months in advance.

When my mother a”h passed away I assumed that due to my aveilus I would not be able to daven for the amud (to be the cantor) this year. Indeed, the issue was raised by various individuals during shiva and I responded that the halachaic decision was for the Rabbi, quite obviously, to make. I was quite surprised when several weeks later the Rabbi approached me and asked if I felt up to davening this year. I said yes without giving it very much thought.

As I began to prepare, without the ability to listen to music due to the aveilus prohibition, I found myself contemplating the events of this past year – my mother’s final illness, her passing, the kidnap of the three Israeli teenagers, and the war in Gaza. I began to realize that this year’s davening would be no easy task. There is much on my mind and tzorchi amcha merubim – the needs of the Jewish People are great.

And so as I get ready to welcome the final Shabbos of 5774 I pray to the Almighty that He enable me, despite my many failings, to be a faithful messenger and worthy advocate for His people. May the prayers offered by every Jew and by communities and chazzanim the world over be accepted with favor and may we all be blessed with a Kasiva Vachasima Tova. A gut gebenched yor.

Good Shabbos

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