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Neilah - The Last Chance

Neilah - This is my favorite High Holiday service. There is a beautiful urgency in this service, and one which also evokes a longing in me at the same time.

I have referred to it in the past as the Last-Chance Prayer Service. You know how last chances go. They are meaningful. You "get it" in a new way when you know you are on your last chance. The importance of the thing or circumstance you want becomes paramount. You can almost feel this last chance reverberate through the body. You are heightened.

This is the service, if there ever was one, where Encounter will take place. Where Divinity will bless you with Its presence. Where you will Feel.  Every day, we pray three times - Maariv, Shacharit, and Mincha.  On Shabbat, and Jewish holidays, we add in a fourth prayer - Mussaf.  And on Yom Kippur, we have the fifth - Neilah. Neilah is aligned with the fifth and highest part of the soul - the Holy of Holies of the Soul. I think this explains why Neilah is an auspicious service…

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