The Koren Yom Kippur Mahzor
With Introduction, Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks
Koren Publishers Jerusalem, 2011, 1375 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - October 10, 2012
This Koren Yom Kippur Mahzor is splendid, informative, and easy to use, just as the highly acclaimed bestselling Koren Siddur published in 2009 and the bestselling Koren Mahzor for Rosh Hashana published in 2011. These are the best prayer books ever published. They are also informative books for people not interested in praying, but who just want to know about the Jewish concepts of prayer.
I recommend that people seeking to know what is in these books read my lengthy review of the Koren Mahzor for Rosh Hashana. I give lots of information in that review, including the meaning of "siddur" and "mahzor," the differences between them, who composed these books, why they did so, what existed before the prayer books were composed, the meaning of prayer, and do the Jewish prayer books contain a single view of Judaism or is it a collection of various approaches to Judaism from mystical to rational. I also give examples in that review which are relevant for the Mahzor for Yom Kippur.
This volume, like the one for Rosh Hashana, contains a wealth of information. British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote a 65 page introduction in which he explains the holiday, the prayers, forgiveness, freedom, atonement, shame, guilt, priests, prophets, repentance, Kol Nidrei, the biblical scapegoat, the views of Maimonides the rationalist and Nachmanides the mystic, and much more.
The Mahzor contains the entire Yom Kippur service as well as practices that precede it such as Kaparot, and the prayers are explained at the bottom of the page in clear detail. Significantly, both the Hebrew on the left side and the new English translation on the right are printed in a beautiful print, in a poetic manner, making the reading clear and interesting.