Machzorim: Your key into the Chagim/Holidays
Why You Use Machzorim
You might think that you don’t need a Machzor set. So let’s talk about why you do. There is a law in the Shulchan Aruch that one may pray by heart only if he knows the prayers very well. The custom, even recorded there, is that before special occasions where the Nusach HaTefillah (official, canonized liturgy) changes such as Yom Kippur or any of the Shalosh Regalim, a person should invest time familiarizing himself with the texts. This requirement is waived in case where one will have his own Machzor available.
This requirement and subsequent leniency are to be attributed to the era in which they were adjudicated: just around the advent of the printing press. Before this pivotal time, it was very rare for anyone to possess printed religious materials and thus texts and manuscripts were shared by entire congregations or towns. Individually owned texts were heirlooms. In the midst of such a trend it was required to know prayers by heart.
Thus, the law really indicates that in such a setting, it is incumbent upon every member of the congregation to get their hands on a copy of the prayer text before the date on which it will be recited so that he can know it by heart, and be able to pray without a ready and available text before him.
If you own a set of Machzorim, you can approach the Chag or Yom Tov ready. You’ll have time to involve yourself with the texts and understand its meaning. Also because most Machzorim contain more content that what is recited in actuality by most congregations, knowing what appears where will help you navigate effectively.
A Word About the Chagim
There is a general conception about the observance of holidays that needs to be mended. We approach holidays as if they were commemorations: we are remembering – through ritual and rite – a bygone event of some national importance. But this is far from the truth.
The behind-the-scenes reality is that each crucial event in our history marked a new spiritual energy entering and forever shifting the universe, propelling history towards it eventual messianic happy ending.
When a holiday returns each year, that original energy re-penetrates the world, imbuing the collective soul of the Jewish people with the necessary energy for their spiritual perfection.
How the World Changes
After establishing that Jewish holidays are not mere commemorations, but re-experiences that push world history forward, we need to learn more about the mechanics of this development. There are two crucial means: Mitzvot and Tefilah.
Each holiday comes with its set of commandments, rituals and customs. Additionally, each Chag is accompanied by particular prayers that embody the spirit of the day. Having a Machzor ensures that you’ll have a fully loaded guide to walk you through every step of this transformative experience.
Machzorim are wonderful gifts and come in broad variety. Leather, color, suede and more options are available for binding. There are also sizes to meet every need and various Nuschaos for each Kehilah.
Visit our store and get the perfect Machzor for you.