Cantor Linda Hirschhorn emailed her congregation, Temple Beth Sholom of San Leandro, about the practice of reciting a Psalm in preparation for the High Holy Days. She said:
Starting this Sunday, August 8th— which is Rosh Hodesh Elul — until the end of the high holidays, Psalm 27 is recited in the daily morning and evening services as we ready ourselves for the Days of Awe. Like so many psalms it traverses a wide range of emotions: from trust, to fear of all that might harm us, to anxiety to being left alone and desolate. Ultimately, it progresses to expressions of yearning for God’s presence and protection.
The psalm is understood to have the powerful protective power which we invoke during this season when we are required to engage in intense self-reflection. Doing teshuvah demands that we focus on those aspects of ourselves most in need of repair as well as on our inability to effect that repair without God’s help.
She included a link to her beautiful rendition of Psalm 27. You can listen to it here.
Cantor Hirschhorn is also a singer and songwriter. You can visit her website here.