Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Both solemn and joyful Rosh Hashanah ushers in the ten days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is solemn because of the Awe of judgment. It is joyful because it represents the hope of the future redemption of Israel. The beginning of the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה), literally means "head of the year". It is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. First of the High Holidays or "Days of Awe" which begin ten days before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed as it is described in the Torah as יום תרועה a day of sounding the Shofar as pictured herein. Rosh Hashanah represents either figuratively or literally the creation of the World, or Universe according to the Jew. In the Talmud, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of man. "The Holy One said, 'on Rosh Hashanah recite before Me verses of Sovereignty, and Remembrance as the Shofar blasts so that you should make Me your King. Remember your captivity and freedom so that your remembrance should rise up before Me. This is reflected in the prayers composed by the classical rabbinic sages for Rosh Hashanah. The theme is the "coronation" of God as King of the universe in preparation for the acceptance of judgments that will follow on that day. Believers of God and His word hang in the balance for ten days waiting for all to repent, then they will be "sealed" on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jews. This holy day is preceeded with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days, or sometimes "the Days of Awe". The assumption is that everyone was sealed for life and therefore the next festival is Sukkot ~Tabernacles ~ is referred to as "the time of our joy"! JEREMIAH 2-3 "That you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you." Says the Lord of God of hosts....As the thief is ashamed when he is found out, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets, saying to a tree 'You are my father, and to a stone, 'You gave birth to me.' For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in their time of trouble they will say, 'Arise and save us.'...Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,' says the Lord. In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. O generation, see the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of darkness? Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? And I said, after she had done all these things, 'Return to Me', but she did not return. "Return, O backsliding children,' says the Lord; 'for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding." A day of JOY, a day to REMEMBER all that God has provided! The Good Shepherd Jesus, the Son of God came, was sacrificed as the Lamb of God, and rose again so that those who BELIEVE would be filled with His Holy Spirit. Reflect, repent and be washed ANEW in His Spirit! Unlike Passover, the Bible does not clearly identify Rosh Hashanah with a historical event, so we must look to tradition to discover its significance. According to Talmudic tradition, the Ten Days of Awe which begin at Rosh Hashanah are the time in which God determines the fate of each human being. On Rosh Hashanah, the wholly righteous are supposedly inscribed in the Sefer ha-Hayyim, or Book of Life, while the wholly wicked are inscribed in the Book of Death. The fate of all others hangs in the balance until Yom Kippur. ROSH HASHANAH is a time for introspection, to be honest and admit that which does not reflect God's best in the last year, to make amends, and then to accept God's grace and His promised abiding JOY and walk free of condemnation in the Holy Spirit! This is the day the Lord hath made, let us REJOICE!RITUALS OF ROSH HASHANAH - Ritual helps us pay attention. From the joy of a recovery to the grief of a funeral, ritual helps us inhabit the breadth of human experience. When we engage in ritual, we leave the everyday and enter a space that touches and transforms us in profound and important ways. During Shabbat dinner, guests are asked to share what they are leaving behind from the week, year that has past ~ AND what they are taking with them into the holy days ahead. The ritual of Shabbat is a time to share what GOOD God has provided, and what we can celebrate has past! Halleluiah!ISRAEL, the land of milk and honey! God fulfills His promise, His word! Dates and palms were important in the scriptures, and the fruit from Judea was known throughout the ancient world. The Romans had nothing nice to say about the Jews except that they had good dates. Roman emperors ordered Judean dates to eat. A 2,000 year old seed planted on Jan 25, 2005 is thriving in 2011 at a kibbutz in Israel's Arava desert. It is the oldest seed ever known to produce a viable young tree. The seed grew into a date palm called Methuselah. The seed was discovered during archaeological excavations at King Herod's palace on Mount Masada, near the Dead Sea. Its age confirmed by carbon dating. God has delivered on His promise that Israel would flow with milk and honey. In 2011, despite the heat, humidity and limited resources, Israel produces more milk per year than cows in the USA, Europe and Australia. Praise God for His prophetic word fulfilled! God desires that we know Him and that we love Him above all else. His living Word is the truth, and accepting His word sets us free. God loves, God forgives, and God provides for His people! ROSH HASHANAH are days to celebrate His plan, His purpose, and His holy, undisputed astounding ways with HIGH praise!