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Who by fire on an open thread

4

As Yom Kippur approaches, what could be more appropriate?

Leonard Cohen’s famous song “Who by fire” is his personal version of the Hebrew Yom Kippur prayer Unetanneh Tokef.

Who By Fire

Leonard Cohen

And who by fire, who by water
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial
Who in your merry merry month of may
Who by very slow decay
And who shall I say is calling?
And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt
Who by avalanche, who by powder
Who for his greed, who for his hunger
And who shall I say is calling?
And who by brave assent, who by accident
Who in solitude, who in this mirror
Who by his lady’s command, who by his own hand
Who in mortal chains, who in power
And who shall I say is calling?

From the liturgy of the Day of Atonement, there is this prayer.
Rosh Hashanah is the New Year in the Jewish liturgy. The Book of Life
contents the fate of every sinner. Ten days later, at Yom Kippur,
depending on whether the sinner repents or not, his fate is sealed

On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed
How many shall die and how many shall be born
Who shall live and who shall die
Who at the measure of days and who before
Who by fire and who by water
Who by the sword and who by wild beasts
Who by hunger and who by thirst
Who by earthquake and who by plague
Who by strangling and who by stoning
Who shall have rest and who shall go wandering
Who will be tranquil and who shall be harassed
Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted
Who shall become poor and who shall become rich
Who shall be brought low and who shall be raised high.

The existence of a Book Of life (Book of Living) first appears
in Exodus Chap. 32. Moses asking God atonement for his people.
Lord said him “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot
out of my book”. In Psalm 69 (verse 28)David prays the Lord for
the sinners : “..Let them be blotted out of the book of life”.

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