Telephone Minyan Rosh Hashana Machzor

Telephone Minyan Rosh Hashana Machzor: September 25th, 2014/ 1 Tishrei 5775
Compiled and Edited by Bracha Yael Download printed version

In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a sacred occasion; you shall not work at your occupations. You shall observe it as a day when the horn is sounded.
(Num. 29:1)

Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and God shall hear my voice.
(Psalm 55:17)

The heart’s intention is the measure of all things.
(Maimonides, Letter to Hasdai HaLevi, 12th century)
The world is new each morning—that is God’s gift, and one should believe one is reborn each day.
(Israel Ben Eliezer)


Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
But life is a journey.
A going – a growing
From stage to stage.
From childhood to maturity
And youth to age.
From innocence to awareness
And ignorance to knowing;
From foolishness to discretion
And then, perhaps, to wisdom
From weakness to strength
Or strength to weakness—
And often back again.
From health to sickness
And back we pray, to health again.
From offense to forgiveness,
From loneliness to love,
From joy to gratitude,
From pain to compassion,
And grief to understanding—
From fear to faith.
From defeat to defeat to defeat—
Until, looking backward or ahead,
We see that victory lies
Not at some high place along the way,
But in having made the journey, stage by stage,
A sacred pilgrimage.
Birth is a beginning
And death a destination
But life is a journey,
A sacred pilgrimage—
Made stage by stage—
To life everlasting.

(Rabbi Alvin Fine, New Reform Congregation of Encino Machzor, 1984)

Where I wander—You!
Where I ponder—You!
Only You everywhere, You, always You.
You, You, You.
When I am gladdened—You!
And when I am saddened—You!
Only You, everywhere You!
You, You, You.
Sky is You!
Earth is You!
You above! You below!
In every trend, at every end,
Only You, everywhere You!
(Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov)

Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad
Listen, Israel! Adonai is our God, Adonai is One!
Hear O Israel
Listen, with the ears of your soul—
Hear the crash of thunder
the bubble of cooling streams
and the singing of the birds
and you will hear the voice of God.
Hear O Israel
Hear the unspoken love of parents
the eloquence of hands
clasped in friendship
the still small voice within
and you will hear the voice of God.
Hear O Israel
Hear the voice
demanding that
you feed the hungry
clothe the naked
loosen the bonds
And you will hear the voice of God—
Hear O Israel
The many languaged voices of men and women
crying out for one another
The birth pangs of brotherhood and sisterhood
waiting to be born
and you will understand the
oneness of God—
Hear O’ Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is One!
Blessed be God’s glorious rule, now and forever!
(Unattributed, New Reform Congregation of Encino Machzor, 1984)

Torah Service
A Meditation: The Flying Letters
The spark expanded, whirling round and round.
Sparks burst into flashes and rose high above.
The heavens blazed with all their powers;
everything flashed and sparkled as one.
Then the spark turned from the side of the South
and outlined a curve from there to the East
and from the East to the North
until it had circled back to the South, as before.
Then the spark swirled, disappearing;
comets and flashes dimmed.
Now they came forth, these carved, flaming letters
flashing like gold when it dazzles.
Like a craftsman smelting silver and gold:
when he takes them out of the blazing fire
all is bright and pure;
so the letters came forth, pure and bright
from the flowing measure of the spark.
Therefore it is written:
“The word of YHVH is refined” (Ps. 18:31)
as silver and gold is refined.
When these letters came forth, they were all refined,
carved precisely, sparkling, flashing.
All of Israel saw the letters
flying through space in every direction,
engraving themselves on the tablets of stone.

Blessing before Studying Torah
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu melech ha-olam asher kid’sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzee-vanu l’sok b’divrei Torah.
Blessed are You Adonai, Our God, Sovereign of all Creation, who has commanded us to soak in the words of Torah.
First Day Torah Reading: Casting out of Hagar and Ishmael
Chapter 1
1. Adonai now remembered Sarah; Adonai did for Sarah as promised,
2. So that she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the exact time God had told him.
3. Abraham named his newborn son, whom Sarah had borne to him, Isaac.
4. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him.
5. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born.
6. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter; all who hear will laugh with me.”
7. And she added, “Who would have dared say to Abraham, ‘Sarah shall nurse children’? Yet I have borne a son in his old age!”
8. The child grew and was weaned, and on Isaac’s weaning day, Abraham held a great feast.
9. Now Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, playing.
10. She said to Abraham, “Throw this slave girl and her son out. The son of this slave girl is not going to share in the inheritance with my son Isaac!”
11. This grieved Abraham greatly, on account of his son.
12. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be grieved over the boy or your slave. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be called yours.
13. Yet I will also make a nation out of the children of the slave’s son, for he, too, is your offspring.”
14. Early next morning, Abraham got up and took bread and a waterskin and handed them to Hagar, placing them and the boy on her shoulder. Then he cast her out; trudging away, she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15. When the water in the skin was all gone, she cast the child away under a bush;
16. She went and sat down at a distance, about a bowshot away; thinking, “Let me not see the child’s death.” And, sitting thus afar, she burst into tears.
17. God heard the boy’s cry, and from heaven an angel of God called to Hagar and said, “What is troubling you, Hagar? Have no fear, for God has heard the cry of the lad where he is.
18. Get up, lift the boy, and hold him with your hand, for I am going to make of him a great nation.”
19. God then opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy to drink.
20. God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness and became a bowman.
21. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took him a wife from the land of Egypt.
(Gen. 21:1-21)

Haftarah for the First Day: Hannah…The Fulfillment of Prayer
1. There was a man from Ramataim, a Zuphite of the line of Ephraim, from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jerocham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph man of Ephraim, and
2. He had two wives, one named Hannah and the other Peninah. Peninah had children, but Hannah had none.
3. This man used to go up from his town annually to worship and to offer sacrifice to the God of heaven’s hosts in Shiloh. There, Eli’s two sons, Hofni and Phineas, were priests of the Eternal.
4. When Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he would give portions to Peninah his wife and to each of her sons and daughters;
5. But to Hannah he would give a special portion, for it was Hannah he loved, but the Eternal had shut her womb.
6. Her rival would torment her constantly, (in order to grieve her,) because the Eternal had shut her womb.
7. This went on year by year; when they went up to the House of the Eternal, her rival would so torment her that she would weep and not eat.
8. Elkanah would say to her: “Hannah, why do you weep? Why don’t you eat? Why are you so unhappy? Am I not dearer to you than ten sons?”
9. Once, Hannah rose up after eating and drinking—it was in Shiloh and Eli the priest was sitting near the entrance of the Temple of the Eternal.
10. In bitter grief she prayed to the Eternal, weeping bitterly.
11. She took a vow, saying: Eternal God, if You take notice of Your servant’s affliction, if You keep me in mind and do not forget Your maidservant, giving Your maidservant a son, I will dedicate him to You for life, and no razor shall touch his head.
12. As she continued to pray before the Eternal, Eli was observing her lips.
13. Hannah was talking to herself; though her lips were moving, she made no sound, so that Eli took her for a drunkard.
14. Eli said to her: “How long do you propose to carry on drunk like this! Get rid of your wine!”
15. “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied. “I am a woman distressed in spirit; I have had neither wine nor beer, but have been pouring out my soul before the Eternal.
16. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman. All this time I have been speaking out of my abundant sorrow and torment.”
17. Then Eli replied: “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your request.”
18. “May your maidservant find favor in your sight,” she said. So the woman went on her way. She ate, and was downcast no longer.
19. Early in the morning they arose, prostrated themselves before the Eternal, and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife, and the Eternal remembered her.
20. At the turn of the year, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel, saying: “I asked him of Eternal (and was heard).”
21. The man Elkanah went up with his household to offer up to the Eternal the yearly sacrifices and to execute his vow.
22. Hannah did not go up. She said to her husband: “I will bring the child after he has been weaned. For when I bring him and he appears before the Eternal, he will have to stay there for good.”
23. Elkanah her husband said to her: “Do what seems good to you; stay until you’ve weaned him; only may the Eternal fulfill the divine promise.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she had weaned him.
24. When she had weaned him, she brought him up to the House of the Eternal at Shiloh—though he was still a child—together with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of meal, and a skin of wine.
25. They slaughtered the bull, and brought the lad to Eli.
26. Then she said: “O my lord, I am the woman who stood near you right here, praying to the Eternal.
27. It was for this lad that I prayed, and the Eternal has granted my request.
28. I therefore dedicate him to the Eternal. So long as he lives he is dedicated to the Eternal.” And there they worshipped the Eternal.

Hannah’s Prayer
And Hannah prayed:
My heart exults in the Eternal,
My strength is exalted by the Eternal;
My mouth derides my foes,
As I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is none holy as the Eternal,
For there is none besides You;
There is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more with lofty pride,
Let no arrogance cross your lips!
For Adonai is an all-knowing God;
God’s deeds are immeasurable.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
And the faltering are girded with strength.
Those who were full sell themselves for bread,
And those once hungry are full,
While the barren woman bears seven,
The mother of many is forlorn.
The Eternal allots death and life,
Casts down to Sheol and lifts up.
The Eternal makes poor and rich;
Casts down and lifts up,
God raises the poor from the dust,
Lifts up the needy from the dunghill,
Setting them with nobles,
Granting them seats of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Eternal’s;
God has set the world upon them.
God guards the steps of the faithful,
While the wicked lie mute in darkness—
For not by might shall one prevail.
The foes of the Eternal shall be scattered;
God will thunder against them in the heavens.
The Eternal will judge the ends of the earth.
God will give power to God’s sovereign.
And triumph to God’s anointed one.
(I Samuel 1:1-2:10)

Toward Healing
There are moments when wellness escapes us,
moments when pain and suffering
are not dim possibilities
but all too agonizing realities.
At such moments we must open ourselves to healing.
Much we can do for ourselves;
and what we can do
we must do—
no less than illness,
is participatory.
But even when we do all we can do
there is,
still much left to be done.
And so we turn as well to our healers
seeking their skill to aid in our struggle for wellness.
But even when they do all they can do
there is,
still much left to be done.
And so we turn to Life,
to the vast Power of Being that animates the universe
as the ocean animates the wave,
seeking to let go of that which blocks our healing.
May those
whose lives are gripped in the palm of suffering
even now
to the Wonder of Life.
May they let go of the hurt
and Meet the True Self beyond pain,
The Uncarved Block
that is our joyous Unity with Holiness.
May they discover through pain and torment
the strength to live with grace and humor.
May they discover through doubt and anguish
the strength to live with dignity and holiness.
May they discover through suffering and fear
the strength to move toward healing.
(Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro)

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu melech ha-olam shechechiyanu v’kiymanu v’higianu lazman ha-zeh.
You are praised, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive and sustained us and allowed us to reach this wondrous time.

Rabbi David Wolpe: A Prayer for Sounding the Shofar
Dear God,
Moses, placed in the basket by the river, kept silent, too frightened to cry. Abraham, walking up the mountain with Isaac, kept silent, refusing to give way to the wild sounds of his own grief. When Aaron’s children were taken from him, Aaron was silent for there were no words. Ruth walked without a sound to the fields for she could give no voice to her loss and her hope.
We, too, are fearful. We stay hidden behind our respectable masks, our tears dried, our faces composed. Our fears are unexpressed, our cries buried deep within. Like Moses, Abraham, Aaron, Rachel, we are too awed or too timid or simply too self-conscious to open our wounds to the world. You have given us a way to cry. Behind the thicket Abraham found the ram and the instrument of our expression.
The shofar will cry for us. In the shevarim, the brokenness that afflicts our hearts. In the teruah, the blasts of pain or hope or recognition that sometimes sear our souls. In the tekiah, the hope for wholeness. We cry out from healing as we do from hurt. We cry in supplication, in loss, in love.
Dear God, help us learn the sounds of the shofar. The sound of our history. The sound of our sorrows. Let it draw us closer to You with each blast, with each whispered promise, with each unspoken prayer.
(Rabbi David Wolpe, ‘A Prayer for Sounding the Shofar Service,’

For ourselves, our ancestors, our children, let us listen to the cries of the shofar. In each note is the secret, ancient anguish of the Jewish heart. In its sound is our awakening and hope for redemption.
On your celebration days—your festivals and new moon days—you shall sound the silver trumpets over all the offerings you bring that they may convey your presence before Adonai your God. I am Adonai your God.
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
The Sound of the Shofar Seeks its Creator…
May it be Your will that the notes of the shofar reach Your glorious throne and intercede for us, so that You forgive us all our wrongs. Praised are You, source of compassion.
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
T’kiah Sh’varim T’kiah
T’kiah T’ruah T’kiah
The Sound of the Shofar Cries Out…
Wake up you sleepers from your sleep and you slumberers from your slumber. Search your deeds and return in penitence.
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
T’kiah Sh’varim T’kiah
T’kiah T’ruah T’kiah
The Sound of the Shofar Prays…
There will come a day when all the crooked will be straightened, all the valleys will be raised, and all the mountains will be lowered; God will reign supreme, and all will know that God is one. The World to Come will be ushered in with an infinite, piercing, steady sound of the shofar.
T’kiah Sh’varim T’ruah T’kiah
T’kiah Sh’varim T’kiah
T’kiah T’ruah T’kiah G’dolah

We Remember Them
At the rising of the sun and at its going down,
We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We remember them.
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember them.
At the shining of the sun and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them.
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and at its end,
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us,
As we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them.
When we have joy we yearn to share,
We remember them.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make,
We remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs,
We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
For they are now a part of us,
As we remember them.
(Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer)

Mourner’s Kaddish
יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַּדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַּבָּא . בְעָּלְמָּא דִי בְרָּא כִרְעוּתֵהּ ,
וְיַּמְלִיךְ מַּלְכוּתֵהּ בְחַּיֵיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן וּבְחַּיֵי דְכָּל בֵית יִשְרָּאֵל .
בַּעֲגָּלָּא וּבִזְמַּן קָּרִיב וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן :
יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַּבָּא מְבָּרַּךְ לְעָּלַּם וּלְעָּלְְמֵי עָּלְמַּיָּא :
יִתְבָּרַּךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח , וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַּם וְיִתְנַּשֵא וְיִתְהַּדָּר
וְיִתְעַּלֶּה וְיִתְהַּלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְקֻדְשָּׁא בְרִיךְ הוּא לְעֵלָּא לְְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל
בִרְכָּתָּא וְשִׁירָּתָּא , תֻשְׁבְחָּתָּא וְנֶּחֱמָּתָּא , דַּאֲמִירָּן בְעָּלְמְָּא ,
וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן :
יְהֵא שְׁלָּמָּא רַּבָּא מִן שְׁמַּיָּא וְחַּיִים עָּלֵינוּ וְעַּל כָּל יִשְרָּאֵל ,
וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן :
עשֶֹּה שָּׁלוֹם בִמְרוֹמָּיו הוּא יַּעֲשֶּה שָּלוֹם עָּלֵינוּ וְעַּל כָּל
יִשְרָּאֵל , וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן :
Yit-gadal ve-yit-kadash shmei raba, b’alma divra khir’utei ve-yamlikh mal-khutei be-chayei-khon uve’yomei-khon uve-chayei di-khol beit yisrael ba-agala u-vizman kariv v’imru amen.
Ye-hei shmei raba meva-rakh l’alam ul’almei ‘al-maya
Yit-barakh ve-yish-tabach ve-yitpa’ar ve-yitromam ve-yitnasei ve-yit-hadar ve-yit’aleh ve-yit-halal shmei di-kudsha brikh hu, l’eila l’eila min kol bir-khata ve-shirata tush-be-chata ve-neche-mata da-amiran b’alma, v’imru amen.
Ye-hei shlama raba min shmaya ve-chayim aleinu v’al kol yisrael v’imru amen.
Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya-aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol yisrael v’imru amen.

Additional Prayers, Poems and Writings
A Rosh HaShanah Prayer
The old year has died and the New Year has scarcely begun. In this pause before the account is made of the past, and my life is judged for what it is, I ask for honesty, vision, and courage. Honesty to see myself as I am, vision to see myself as I should be, and the courage to change and realize myself.
(Signs on the Doorpost, CCAR p. 315)

A Meditation in Preparation for Rosh HaShanah
Much of the work that we do during Elul is practical as we get ready for the new school year and for the mechanics of the High Holidays. But even the most busy among us can and should take some time to reflect on where we have been and where we hope to go in the year ahead. More…
(Hebrew Union College website)

A Psalm for the Days of Awe
One thing I ask from God; one thing do I seek—
that I may stay in the divine presence all the days of my life,
envision divine delight, and contemplate God’s presence.
(Psalm 27:4)

Prayer: The Heart of Significant Living
Prayer is at the heart not only of great religion, but of significant living. Without prayer we cannot scale the heights of compassion, or attain the peaks of love for all humanity of which we are capable.
Prayer has been an enduring and universal phenomenon of human life, not because a priesthood ordained it, nor because tradition hallowed it, but because we are ever-seeking to probe into our own depths and bring to light our hidden yearnings…
Prayer is a step on which we rise from the self we are to the self we wish to be.
Prayer affirms the hope that no reality can crush; the aspiration that can never acknowledge defeat…
Prayer is not an escape from duty. It is no substitute for the deed.
Prayer seeks the power to do wisely, to act generously, to live helpfully. It helps to reinforce the act rather than to replace it.
Prayer is the search for silence amidst the noise of life…
Prayer takes us beyond the self. Joining our little self to the selfhood of humanity, it gives our wishes the freedom to grow large and broad and inclusive.
Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we ask, but when we are challenged to be what we can be.
(Rabbi Morris Adler, New Reform Congregation of Encino Machzor, 1984)

Do Not Hurt nor Destroy
When I walk through Your woods,
may my right foot and my left foot
be harmless to the little creatures
that move in its grasses: as it is said
by the mouth of Your prophet,
They shall not hurt nor destroy
in all my holy mountain.
(Rabbi Moshe Hakotun)

Song of Myself
I hear and behold God in every object. Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty four, and each moment then, In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass. I find letters from God dropped in the street – and every one is signed by God’s name, and I leave them where they are, for I know that others will punctually come forever and ever.
(Excerpt from Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ written in 1855, BCC siddur)

Preparation for the Shema
Let the eyelids close, let disharmony disappear…
Shema: Listen, hearken, let the words’ familiar sounds dapple the darkness…
Yisrael: Israel is each of us, Jacob wrestling with God, our people wrestling with our doubts and our destiny…
Adonai: Your Name, Your innermost Name, the Name You love best, the compassionate Name we heard Moses call You face to face, the Name that means: I am…
Eloheynu: O God whose rule is just, God who promised Israel eternity like the stars, God with us…
Adonai: Wherever we are is You; wherever the world is, is You…
Echad: You alone, You are Life. Disharmony and harmony, shaded light and dappled dark, wicked acts, compassionate people, justice and cruelty, all find their hidden purpose in Your innermost Name. Let disharmony (soon, and in our day!) disappear.
(‘Preparation of the Shema,’ Wings of Awe, p. 82)

Rabbi Rachel Adler: Hannah’s Prayer: The Model of Prayer with Sincerity
To pray without being fully present is highly problematic for rabbinic Judaism. A recurring Talmudic controversy rages about the extent to which commandments in general and prayer in particular require kavvanah, the intentionality and attention with which a fully aware and situated self orients itself toward God and performs a holy act.
Kavvanah is both internally and externally manifested. It is both a proper frame of mind and a proper demeanor. More…
(Rabbi Rachel Adler, excerpt from Engendering Judaism,

Eternal wellspring of peace—
May we be drenched with the longing of peace
that we may give ourselves over to peace
until the earth overflows with peace
as living waters overflow the seas.
(Marcia Falk, Prayers for Healing, ed. by Maggie Oman, MJF Publications, 233)

A Prayer for Healing
Strengthen me, Holy One, on my journey through illness;
Steady my steps on this difficult path.
Bring me through signposts
of remedies and therapies,
Secure in Your guidance
as I face these changes.
You are my Strength and my Hope
The Author of my healing.
You are my Promise and my Courage,
Guiding my helpers as I move toward healing.
Guard the encouragement
of simple improvements,
Every day praising Your loving concern.
Make me Your partner, Divine Physician,
Restoring me for Your Name’s sake.
(Debbie Perlman, Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing and Praise, 1998)

Heavy Silence
Death will take the spectacular
between fire and water
and cast it to the abyss.
Heavy silence will crouch
like a bull
on the names we have given
the birds of the sky
and the beasts of the field,
the evening skies, the vast distances
in space,
and things hidden from the eye.
Heavy silence will crouch like
a bull
on all the words.
And it will be as hard for me to part
from the names of things
as from things themselves.
O Knower of Mysteries,
help me understand
what to ask for
on the final day.
(Zelda, ‘Heavy Silence’ The Spectacular Difference, trans. by Marcia Falk, HUC Press, 2004, 270)

Tashlich Tidbits: A humorous list of different types of bread to use for different sins for Tashlich
For ordinary sins, use – White bread For exotic sins – French or Italian bread For dark sins – Pumpernickel For complex sins – Multigrain bread For truly warped sins – Pretzels For sins of indecision – Waffles For sins committed in haste – Matzah For substance abuse – Poppy seed rolls For committing arson – Toast For being ill-tempered – Sourdough bread For silliness – Nut bread For not giving full value – Shortbread For political chauvinism – Yankee Doodles For excessive use of irony – Rye bread For continual bad jokes – Corn bread For hardening our hearts – Jelly doughnuts For excessive curiosity – Wonder Bread For speed-limit violations – Russian bread For usury – dough
(Rabbi Richard Israel,

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