Q. Why do some congregations begin the Kol Nidre service with the verse, Or Zaru’a LaTzaddik – “Light is sown for the righteous”?
A. The verse is from Psalm 97:11. The final letters of the three Hebrew words can be rearranged to read k’ra – “tear apart (the evil decree)”. Originally it was part of the much longer T’fillah Zakkah composed by Abraham Danzig (1748-1820) on the basis of kabbalistic sources. Some link it to the custom of kindling a light of the Torah at the beginning of the fast, in addition to the Yahrzeit light kindled to recall the departed. The connection of Torah and light is indicated by Prov. 6:23, “The commandment is a lamp and the Torah is a light”.