Thursday, September 06, 2007

High Holy Days

L'Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year) & Chag Sameach (Literally, joyous festival.)
Well technically the first phrase is L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem (May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year). If you want to impress your Jewish neighbour say the whole phrase - and know what it means (some less observant Jews may not know).

As the Jewish High Holy Days approach (Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of September 12th and Yom Kippur is sunset September 21, 2007 - nightfall September 22, 2007) my neighbourhood is abuzz with preparations. There is significance for us who profess that Moshiach has come in Jeshua as well because the Jewish feasts reflect Biblical events and concepts and point toward the coming of the Messiah.

Each one of God’s Feasts contains basic elementary truths, which are foundational in revealing His Holy character, man’s nature and our faith in Him. As we become aware of the fundamental essentials of each Feast, we gain a deeper understanding of God’s Person and His personal love for humanity. Each one of God’s Appointed Times (feasts) contain the following basic elements (there are more):

The Commemoration of a monumental event. Each Feast Day recounts something fantastic God has accomplished mainly for, but at times in conjunction with, His covenant people.

The Unveiling of Components of His redemptive plan for humanity. God discloses His plan to bring about redemption through the subject matter of the individual Feasts and as God’s Feasts are celebrated, an amazing redemptive portrait reveals itself through the unique practices of the Feast and through the types of sacrifices and the ceremonial protocol outlined for the Tribe of Levi.

The Revelation of His Character through types and shadows. The Person of Messiah is made known through a variety of spiritual and physical appearances, and through miraculous components imbedded within the original historic event.

The High Holy Days are no exception, as a matter of fact, it is in these last three Feasts on the Jewish calendar where the Personhood of Yeshua’s Messiahship and His Crowning as King over all becomes clearly evident. Through these monumental Festival events God’s redemptive plan for Israel is revealed through types and shadows. So, for believers the Feasts of Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (2nd Harvest & God Among us) reveal Messiah as Redeemer, Conqueror and King.

Rosh Hashanah in the Bible
“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “In the seventh month on the first of the month, you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.’” Leviticus 23:23-25 NASB

Rosh Hashanah Facts
• Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of theYear” and this is why it is commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year.
• In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is calledYom HaTeruah or “Day of the Shofar”.
• The command from God concerning the shofar blasts, or the “blast of horns” can be found in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1.
• The Bible also calls this dayYom Ha-Zikkaron or “The Day of Remembrance”. Rabbinic Judaism interprets this to mean that the creation of the world by God’sWord was actually on the day of Rosh Hashanah. Therefore, it is “the commemoration of the creation of the world” and Jews are reminded of their responsibilities as God’s chosen people.
• Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the “Days of Awe” or the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
• Rosh Hashanah is known by the rabbis as the “Day of Judgment” and it is believed that God judges all of His people on this day and decides on their fate for the next year.
• Maimonides regarded the shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah as an allusion to Isaiah’s proclamation, “Awake, O you sleepers, awake from your sleep! O you slumberous, awake from your slumber! Search your deeds and turn in repentance!”
• Another long-standing rabbinic tradition is called Tashlikh, or the “Casting off of Sin”. On Rosh Hashanah, many Jews walk to a creek or a river and cast bread crumbs into it, symbolizing the casting off of their sins of the previous year. This is done on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur in the Bible
“And He,YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto YHVH. And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before YHVH your God.’” Leviticus 23:26-32

Yom Kippur In The Synagogue
• The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the “Days of Awe.” During this period,
“mitzvotim”, or good deeds, are done to make up for bad behaviour during the past year.
• Yom Kippur, celebrated on the 10th day of Tishri, is the most important and solemn of Jewish holidays, next to
the Shabbat due to its frequency.
• Yom Kippur is the occasion on which otherwise non-observant Jews are most likely to attend synagogue, refrain
from work, or fast.
• Throughout the Day of Atonement, Jewish people seek God’s forgiveness through fasting and prayer.
• No leather is worn on this day in remembrance of the sacrifices once offered by the priests in the temple.
• The Day of Atonement is believed by the rabbis to be the people’s last chance to change God’s mind concerning
the judgment of one’s deeds in the previous year, and their humility will effect His decision over one’s fate in
the coming year.
• It is traditional to break the fast of the day with an evening congregational meal.
• In the Bible,Yom Kippur is called, “Shabbat Shabbaton” (Sabbath of Sabbaths); because it is on Yom Kippur that all the people of Israel are to abstain from work and focus inwardly and solemnly, therefore, characterizing a Shabbat of the most complete rest.

Thanks to Light of Messiah Ministries newsletter for much of this information. For a website from a Jewish perspective with lots of helpful information about Jewish culture and holy days check out Judaism 101.

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