Unetaneh Tokef: Do we control our fate?


September 30, 2022

If there’s one word that is closely connected with the High Holiday season, it’s teshuvah, repentance. It’s a part of the vocabulary taught to even young religious school children: looking at one’s behavior and then taking steps to make better decisions and live a life free of transgressions against God and our fellow humans.

There’s one iconic prayer, recited on each of the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, that expresses in a clear and dramatic way our need to perform teshuvah. The text of Unetaneh Tokef lays it all out for us and utilizes vivid imagery: Before God lies...

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