Yom Kippur, Leonard Cohen and a first post

I was quite intimidated by publishing a first post. Not knowing the blog etiquette, I preventively researched a bit on the internet, until I found this interesting piece of information : “A good blogger should write at least 5 posts per day”. This is were I feel like saying (and declaring): no way. No way this is going to be a logorrheic, frivolous register of mood changing  or copy-pasted articles. Unless one is insanely gifted – and/or incidentally does not have a life- inspiration for writing does not come as often as 5 times a day.

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. The day when the whole country of Israel completely shuts down for 24 hours (that includes also airport, radio broadcast and television, something hard to imagine in any other modern country these days). One can sense a tangible mood of “calming down”: staying at home, fasting, reflecting about the year which has passed and the one which is starting. Questioning how you have behaved towards your fellow human beings. And more important, a day where you still have the opportunity to ask forgiveness for the wrong done, either verbally or in prayers. For this is the day when God will seal (or not) your inscription in the book of life. This is why Jewish people wish each other “Hatima tova“, which means more or less “have a good signature”.  And this is what inspired Leonard Cohen when he wrote his 1974 song “Who by fire”. The song enumerates the different ways a man can die. It draws directly form the traditional Jewish prayer of Unetaneh Tokef:

On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by wild beast

Leonard Cohen himself stated in an interview in 1979 how his Jewish background influenced the writing of this song. By the way: a heartfelt thank you to Leonard Cohen for the very, very special concert he gave in Tel Aviv  four days ago! I was lucky enough to be there, and I loved every moment.

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3 thoughts on “Yom Kippur, Leonard Cohen and a first post

  1. Welcome to blogging. I still feel as though I am finding my way around and certainly would never expect anyone to post five times a day and still have a life.

    Your blog came up in my tag list because of our mutual enthusiasm for Leonard Cohen – – glad the TA concert was a success.

  2. There was something very special about the TA concert, despite the fact that it was held in a huge stadium (not an intimate encounter like many of us had hoped for). He was so warmly welcomed by the crowd. Many artists succumb today to the widespread boycott-Israel trend, so when someone of his caliber makes it to Israel, he’ll be rewarded by an hungry crowd! He devoted the proceeds to a charity organization that unites bereaved families from both sides of the conflict. What a man.

    The audience startled back when he closed the concert by blessing the crowd through a Jewish prayer reserved to the Cohens(priests), as to fully embody an unexpected religious role.

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