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Who by Fire, Who by Water: Un'taneh Tokef »

Book cover image of Who by Fire, Who by Water: Un'taneh Tokef by Lawrence A. Hoffman

Authors: Lawrence A. Hoffman
ISBN-13: 9781580234245, ISBN-10: 1580234240
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
Date Published: May 2010
Edition: (Non-applicable)

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Author Biography: Lawrence A. Hoffman

Book Synopsis

Over forty contributors who span three continents and all major Jewish denominations examine Un'taneh Tokef's theology, authorship, and poetry through a set of lively commentaries. Men and women, scholars and rabbis, artists and poets trace the history of Un'taneh Tokef and connect the prayer to its biblical and rabbinic roots. They wrestle with the personal and community impact of its deeply moving imagery, probe its haunting message of human morality, and reflect on its call for sancity, transformation and renewal.

A multi-volume series designed to explore the High Holy Day liturgy and enrich the praying experience for everyone-whether experienced worshipers or guests who encounter Jewish prayer for the very first time.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prayers of Awe, Intuitions of Wonder Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman 1

Un'taneh Tokef as Poetry and Legend Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman 13

The Legend of Rabbi Amnon Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman 26

Un'taneh Tokef: Translation Dr. Joel M. Hoffman 29

Un'taneh Tokef: Behind the Translation Dr. Joel M. Hoffman 33

Part I The Moral Challenge of Un'Taneh Tokef: Can the Prayer Even be Salvaged?

1 The Exodus and the Elephant Rabbi Tony Bayfield 51

2 Awe-full Thoughts on Words a Melody Cannot Save Rabbi Andrew Goldstein 55

3 Is Un'taneh Tokef Palatable? Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur 60

4 From Text to Life to Text: The Un'taneh Tokef Feedback Loop Rabbi Noa Kushner 63

5 A Rationalist's View Rabbi Charles H. Middleburgh 67

6 Universalism versus Martyrdom: Un'taneh Tokef and Its Frame Narrative Rabbi Marc Saperstein 72

7 Somehow Linked to God Rabbi Daniel G. Zemel 77

Part II Reinterpreting Un'taneh Tokef for Our Time

8 A Biblical Perspective Dr. Marc Brettler 83

9 God as the Ultimate Writer Dr. Erica Brown 88

10 "How Was Your Flight?" Dr. Joel M. Hoffman 93

11 Passing before God: The Literary Theme of Un'taneh Tokef Rabbi Elie Kaunfer 98

12 The Poetics of Prayer: How Un'taneh Tokef Means What It Means Dr. Reuven Kimelman 103

13 Death without Dying Rabbi Lawrence Kushner 109

14 Laminated in the Book of Life? Rabbi Ruth Langer 113

15 Un'taneh Tokef through Israeli Eyes Rabbi Dalia Marx 117

16 The Litmus Test of Belief Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum 122

17 Meditations on the Poetry of Un'taneh Tokef Rabbi Margaret Moers Wenig 126

18 Who by Fire: Contemporary Personal and Literary Reflections Dr. Wendy Zierler 131

Part III Un'taneh Tokef and the Limitations of the Human Condition

19 Stark and Inescapable Merri Lovinger Arian 139

20 At the Edge of the Abyss Rabbi Sharon Brous 142

21 The Answer Is "Me!" Rabbi Edward Feinstein 145

22 The Dance between Fate and Destiny Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar 151

23 Empowering Human Beings to Challenge Fate Rabbi Asher Lopatin 155

24 Who by Common Trial Catherine Madsen 160

25 A Text in Context Rabbi Jonathan Magonet 164

26 The Power of Vulnerability Rabbi Or N. Rose 169

27 Mortal Matters: The Faith of Un'taneh Tokef Rabbi David Stern 172

28 Turning Fate into Destiny Rabbi Avraham Weiss 177

29 Death Rehearsal Rabbi David J. Wolpe 182

Part IV Un'taneh Tokef and its Call for Sanctity, Transformation, and Renewal

30 The Power of the Thin Whisper of Silence Rabbi Ruth Durchslag 187

31 Evoking Fear, Prescribing Hope: From Suffering to Service Rabbi Elyse D. Frishman 191

32 The Four Holinesses of Un'taneh Tokef: A Halakhic Understanding Rabbi Daniel Landes 196

33 Trembling with Angels: The Power of Rehearsal Liz Lerman 201

34 The Eternal and the Ephemeral: The Stark Contrasts of Un'taneh Tokef Rabbi Aaron Panken 206

35 Theology or Anthropology? Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso 211

36 "How Awesome and Dreadful: God Is Enthroned and Rules with Love" Rabbi Jonathan P. Slater 216

37 Gods Hands Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek Ruth Messinger 221

38 The Call to Turn Inward Rabbi David A. Teutsch 225

39 Shattered Pottery-Unshattered Hope Rabbi Gordon Tucker 229

40 Everything Has Consequences Dr. Ellen M. Umansky 232

41 The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven Dr. Ron Wolfson 235

Notes 240

Glossary 247