Soloveitchik on the sacred events generated by the halakah on the Yamim Nora'im (high holidays).
(17) When we consider Soloveitchik's understanding of the uniqueness of Jewish sacred time, we will also examine some of his reflections on the experience of the Yamim Nora'im. We hope to show that there are some surprising similarities in the writings of Rosenzweig and Soloveitchik concerning the kinds of events that occur on the Yamim Nora'im in particular, and within the matrix of sacred time in general.
What is it, then, about the unique "event" that takes place during the Musaf service on the Yamim Nora'im that engenders the reaction of full prostration?
The experience of prostration on the Yamim Nora'im represents, for Rosenzweig, a realization of the time consciousness we spoke of earlier: simultaneity engendered by circularity.
On the Yamim Nora'im, however, it becomes a central part of the silent prayer of the Amidah, indicating that redemption need not be cried out for--it is actually occurring in our very midst.
By the era of the Mishnah (around 200 C.E.), the first day of the seventh month was described as Rosh Ha-Shanah, and a tractate of the Mishnah begins by explaining how this day is considered the most important "New Year." (7) Eventually, Rosh Ha-Shanah was considered to be the day of either the creation of the world or the creation of humanity, a day of judgment, the onset of a period of repentance, the coronation of God as King, and the beginning of the Yamim Nora'im
("Days of Awe" or "High Holidays").
Each year, it is this understanding of the metaphor that inspires me during the Yamim Nora'im
Agnon edited an anthology of folktales inspired by the High Holidays of the Jewish year, Yamim nora'im
(1938; Days of Awe), and a selection of famous rabbinic texts, Sefer, sofer, vesipur(1938).
Thousands of Hasidim are on their way to spend the Yamim Nora'im
[Solemn Holy Days] with the rebbe....
Liebrich, "Aspects of the New Year Liturgy," HUCA 34 (1963): 136-47; Naftali Widder, "Investigating Ancient Babylonian Practices," (Hebrew) Tarbiz 37 (1967-8): 135; Daniel Goldschmidt, Mahzor Le'Yamim Nora'im
(Mahzor for the High Holidays), (N.Y.: Leo Baeck Institute, 1970) (Hebrew), Introduction, p.