The Month Of Elul
As I discussed in the article The Month Of Elul (A Time To Reflect On Yeshua Our Betrothed Beloved One) the Month of Elul is a time to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the Ten days of Awe and Yom Kippur. This is a time to retrospectively take stock of the last year’s success and failures, make amends for failures and seek to prepare to make plans for a sweet new year, to prepare to come closer to Adonai. This is a time of Teshuvah (Repentance), prayer, Tzadakah (Charity), and Ahavat Israel (Love for Israel). We are to prepare for the King of Kings to Judge the world and Israel. These times include that of making amends and self-reflection. It is more important to make amends horizontally, person to person, than to Adonai, as Yeshua taught go and make amends before brining you gift to Adonai. This is the time to repair damaged relationships, friendships, paying back money lent, to asking family members and acquaintances by confessing and apologizing for damaging behavior. Teshuva (Repentance) is a significant and solemn process, one must be sincere, earnest and meaningful.
The first of Tishrei is said to be the day that Adonai judges the entire world, every nation and each person individually. At this point it is said Adonai determines what will be each persons fate in the year to come. This is a time to Repent and make amends with those who you have wronged and make amends. Adonai sent His son, Yeshua for Adonai so loved the world He sent the son so He may die for our sins as a lamb was sacrificed in the place of Isaac. Yeshua is the lamb that was slain for our sins. This is significant as this story will be read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah
The Day before Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah
The day before Rosh Hashanah many Visit a Mikvah (Ritual Bath Pool), to be purified before entering the High Holy Days. Another tradition is to buy a new knife. Much like Avraham when he sharpened the knife to sacrifice his son before the ram got caught in the thorns in the place of Isaac. Another traditions is to begin reciting the Psalms, the Psalms should be continually recited throughout the two days of Rosh Hashanah.
Forbidden Things On Yom Tov-High Shabbats
Most of everything that is banned from Shabbat are also forbidden on High Shabbat or Yom Tov’s in short practices such as going to work, using electrical appliances, doing financial transactions, and writing more than three characters. One may cook, bake, light a fire, and lifting-carrying things in public.
The New Years Greeting
The common New Year greating for Rosh Hashanah is:
Leshana tova tekatev v’techatem
May you be inscribed for a good year!
The Many Names Of Rosh Hoshanah:
- Yom Teruah means “The Day of the Sounding (of the Shofar).”
- Yom Hadin means “The Day of Judgment.”
- Yom Hazikaron means “The Day of Remembering.”
- Yom Harat Olam means “The Day of the Birth of the World.”
- Rosh Hashana means “Head of the Year.”
Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year, also referred to in the Scriptures as Yom HaTeruah—the Day of Trumpets) arrives in September as a wake-up call with the sound of the shofar, (ram’s horn). Yom Hadin, (the Day of Judgment), and is a time when Jews focus on recognizing God as the King of Kings.
The Practices Of Rosh Hashana
Tashlich: The purpose of Tashlich is to cast down both our sin-iniquities and the heavenly prosecutor-adversary (haSatan). Then it is traditional once you have cast the bread into the living water to shake your clothes or prayer shawl as a symbol of shaking of our sins. Tashlich means “to cast” which refers to the casting away of our sins as far as the east is from the west. This is performed on the first day or Rosh Hashanah. The practice is to find a body of rushing-living, cool water, a river, stream or ocean and cast a piece of bread into the water along with saying the Tashlich prayer. This may be done all the way up to the final day of Sukkot except on a Shabbat. Rosh Hashanah is the day we coronate Adonai as King of Kings, as Ruler of the Universe. Jewish kings we’re anointed next to rivers. Going to a river’s edge or ocean front helps us gather a sense of our sins being washed away. Also another reason is that water with fish are not subject to the “evil eye,” fish do not have eyelids so their eyes are always open. This is compared to Adonai watching over us. We are to be fishers of men so this reminds us of the great commission to make Talmidim (disciples) in Yeshua’s name. Of course the acts of Tashlich prayer and related Halackah do not grant atonement their symbolism helps us relate to the washing away of our sins and purifying our souls. Teshuvah and returning to Adonai is an act that requires Kevanah (Sincere-Right Intent-Devotion). So let us cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of soul and spirit, while we rejoice that our names our in the Book of Life and may our new year be sweet as honey. Tashlich is more than just throwing bread crumbs. While casting away the bread Micah 7:18-20 is repeatedly recited:
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and forgiving transgression to the remainder of His heritage. He retains not His anger forever, because He delights in kindness. He will again have mercy on us. He will suppress our iniquities; yes, You will cast our sins into the depth of the sea.”
Tashlich is normally performed in late afternoon on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Feeding of wild animals is prohibited on Shabbat’s and Holy Days so feeding the birds is not what the birds is not what Tashlich is for. So prepare to cast of your bread crumbs and shake of your garments-talits-tzitzit.
The Tashlich Prayer
This is the traditional prayer of Tashlich service:
L-rd, L-rd, benevolent G-d,
1) Who is a G-d like You,
2) who pardons iniquity
3) and forgives transgression
4) for the remnant of His heritage?
5) He does not maintain His wrath forever,
and abounding in kindness
6) for He desires [to do] kindness.
7) He will again show us mercy,
He preserves kindness
8) He will suppress our iniquities;
for two thousand generations,
9) and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
10) Show faithfulness to Jacob,
11) Kindness to Abraham,
12) which You have sworn to our fathers
and He cleanses.
13) from the days of yore.
The L-rd is slow
1) in From out of distress I called to G-d;
2) with abounding relief, G-d answered me.
and abounding in kindness,
3) The L-rd is with me,
4) I do not fear
5) what can man do to me?
acquitting [the penitent]
6) The L-rd is with me among my helpers,
and not acquitting the impenitent],
7) and I will see [the downfall of] my enemies.
remembering the iniquity of the fathers for the children,
8) It is better to rely on the L-rd than to trust in man.
for the third and for the fourth generation.
9) It is better to rely on the L-rd than to trust in nobles.
Sing joyously to the L-rd, you righteous ones; it is fitting for the upright to offer praise. Extol the L-rd with a harp; sing to Him with a ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; skillfully play sounds of jubilation. For the word of the L-rd is just; all His deeds are done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the kindness of the L-rd fills the earth. By the word of the L-rd the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts.
He gathers the waters of the sea like a mound; He stows away the deeps in vaults. Let all the earth fear the L-rd; let all the inhabitants of the world tremble before Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it endured. The L-rd has annulled the counsel of nations; He has foiled the schemes of Peoples. The counsel of the L-rd stands forever, the thoughts of His heart throughout all generations. Fortunate is the nation whose G-d is the L-rd, the people He chose as a heritage for Himself. The L-rd looks down from heaven; He beholds all mankind. From His dwelling-place He watches intently all the inhabitants of the earth. It is He who fashions the hearts of them all, who perceives all their actions. A king is not saved through a large army; a warrior is not rescued by means of great strength. A horse is a false guarantee for victory; with all its great strength it offers no escape. But the eye of the L-rd is directed toward those who fear Him, toward those who hope for His kindness, to save their soul from death and to sustain them during famine. Our soul yearns for the L-rd; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, for we have put our trust in His holy Name. May Your kindness, L-rd, be upon us, as we have placed our hope in You.
They shall do no evil nor shall they destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the L-rd, as the waters cover the sea.
May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our fathers, exalted G-d, crowned with thirteen attributes, qualities of mercy, that this shall be a propitious time before You; and may You consider the recitation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in the verses “Who is a G-d like You…” which correspond to the thirteen attributes “benevolent G-d, compassionate and gracious…,” that we recited before You, as if we had comprehended all the esoteric meanings and the combinations of the holy Names that are formed from them, and the joining of their attributes, which, one by one, shall approach to “sweeten” the severe judgments. And so, cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, and bestow upon us from them the bounty of deliverance and mercy. Remember us for life, King who desires life; inscribe us in the Book of Life for Your sake, O living G-d. May we merit to attain teshuvah ila’ah (“higher level repentance”), for Your right hand is stretched forth to receive penitents. Rend the evil [aspect] of the verdict decreed against us; may our merits be stated before You, and may You have forbearance for us for good. Amen.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, L-rd, my Strength and my Redeemer.
If wearing a tallit katan, shake out its corners over the water
Another prayer said on Rosh Hashanah is Avinu Malkeinu, which means Our Father, Our King. We look to the King of the Universe to save our souls and redeem us. This is a beautiful prayer that goes as follows:
Avinu Malkeinu chaneinu va’aneinu, kee ain banu ma’a’seem, ah’say
eemanu tzedaka va’chesed v’hoshee’einu.
Our Father, our King, be gracious with us and answer us, though we
have no worthy deeds; treat us with charity and kindness, and save us.
Bracha-Blessings Recited On The Evenings of September 28 and 29, 2011:
Bracha-Blessing 1 (Candle Lighting Blessing)
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam asher ki-deshanu be-mitzvo-tav ve-tzvi-vanu le-hadlik ner shel Yom Hazikaron.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of the Day of Remembrance.
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh
Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
Apples And Honey: is another tradition of Rosh Hashanah. A slice of Apple is dipped in Honey. The following Bracha-Blessings is recited:
Baruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai, Eh’lo’hay’nu Melech Ha’olam, bo’ray p’ree ha’etz.
Blessed are You Lord, our God, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the tree.
Once you take a bite you recite the following prayer:
“May it be Your will, Lord, our God and the God of our forefathers, that You renew us”
Shabbat Prayers for Rosh Hashanah: Make this Bracha-Blessing before sunset (see Candle Lighting Times) on the evening of September 30, 2011:
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam asher ki-deshanu be-mitzvo-tav ve-tzvi-vanu le-hadlik ner shel Shabbat kodesh.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the candle of the holy Shabbat.
Torah Reading Summary (Day One): is Genesis 21:1-34. This is the story of Sarah giving birth to Yitzchack (means “will laugh”). Yitzchak was circumcised on the eighth day. Hagar and Ishmael are banished to wander the desert at Sarah’s request after she saw Ishmael mocking Isaac (Yitzchack), so I guess Isaac got the last laugh. While wondering in the desert Ishmael prays, an Angel appears to Hagar and they are saved when they find a well. At Be’er Sheba Avraham makes a treaty with the Philistine King Abimelech. Adonai had promised that Avraham’s descendants through Isaac, Ishmael and his descendants would become a great nation. Though the Ishmaelites would latter join with the Edomites (Esau’s descendants) and the Midianites not the Israelites and many times would side against them. It was a band of Midianites and Edomites that took Joseph into captivity.
Torah Reading Summary (Day Two): This passage is very symbolic of Yeshua our sacrificial lame. This is where Adonai commands Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchack on Mount Moriah, what eventually becomes the Temple Mound in Yerushaliyem. Isaac was bound and placed on the altar when Avraham raises his knife to slaughter His son he hears a voice from heaven. The voice declares that it was a test and a ram is caught in the thorns by its horns and it to be offered in Isaac’s place. This is a beautiful picture of Messiah Yeshua dying in our place. For the wages of sin is death however the gift of Adonai is eternal life. On the way up the mountain Avraham took the fire and the knife, while Isaac carried the wood. This was hard for Avraham to grasp that his promised seed was to be sacrificed. It took three days to reach the mountain. Isaac asked why they had fire and wood but no lamb for sacrifice and Avraham said “Adonai will seek out for himself the for the offering, my son.” What a beautiful picture of our messiah.
The Significance of Rosh Hashanah
The Honey, Apples, Blowing the Shofar, the sense of Awe, Tashlich and Bracha are all part of Rosh Hashanah that are meant to help us remove our iniquities from the past year and prepare for a pure new year. The sense of renewal that is brought and the fresh start that is experienced gives us a sense of cleansing our souls. Hearing the Shofar blown is the primary mitzvah (obligation) of every adult. Three main themes of Rosh Hashan are Kingship, Remembrance and Shofar.
Charitable Deeds: The power of giving tzedaka (charitable donation) is one of the ways that helps us repent and helps make sure that our hearts are pennant.
Yomin Noraim (The Days Of Awe)
Rosh HaShanah begins the Yomin Nora’im (the Days of Awe) a time to examine oneself and make things right with Adonai and anyone who you have offended. The says are also known as “Aseret Y’mei Teshuva” (Ten Days of Repentance), during this time, people go out of their way to make amends both with their fellow humans and with God. These ten days of Awe and Purification culminate in the arrival of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). The Days of Awe are also called the Ten Days of Repentance which are marked with Teshuva, Tefillah and T’zedaka.
Yom Kippur (The Day Of Atonement, The Fast)
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), is a mandatory fast day, and the most solemn day in the Biblical calendar. Yom Kippur commemorates the day that Adonai forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf. Forty days after hearing Adonai declare at Mount Sinai:
“You shall not have the gods of others in My presence; you shall not make for yourself a graven image,”
Despite the destruction of the “gods” of Egypt through the plagues, the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, and the Destruction of Pharaoh’s Army the Jewish people still we’re lead astray by their own evil desires committing idolatry. Moshe spent 80 days on Mount S’nai pleading that Adonai would forgive Israel, on the Tenth of Tishrei it was finally granted
“I have pardoned, as you have requested.”
From that day forward, that day was known as the annual Day of Atonement for Israel. Once Adonai instituted the Tabernacle and the Levitical priestly service, there became a process of sacrifices, the scapegoat (Azazel) and the High Priest entering the Holy of Holy to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat between the Cherubim. Though the day is the most solemn, there is joy and confidence that Adonai is faithful and just to forgive, sealing the verdict for a year of shalom, life, health and happiness.
The Fast: lasts from Before Sunset Tishrei 9 until after nightfall on Tishrei 10 in which we “afflict our “souls” by abstaining from food and drink, do no wear leather shoes and abstain from intercourse with your spouse. The day is spent mostly in the synagogue in repentance and prayer. This is the Fast that Paul observed in Acts to prove he was still Jewish. Many men wear a Kittle, a long white garment on Yom Kippur. Before sunset women and girls light holiday candles and everyone changes into non-leather shoes and hollday finery.
Kol Nidrei: on Yom Kippur, the Tallit (Prayer Shawl) is worn for all prayer services, and should be donned before sunset. If donned after sunset the traditional blessing is not recited. Kol Nidrei should begin just before sunset. The Torah Scrolls are all removed from the Ark on Yom Kippur. The Cantor requests heavenly and earthly courts permission to “pray with transgressors.” Once the Cantor begins Kol Nidrei he cants it three times, each time on a slightly higher note. The congregation reads along with the cantor in an undertone. The prayer culminates in the Shehecheyanu thanking Adonai for bringing us to this occasion. Following the Kiddush (the women and girls do not pray the candle blessing since they did so already when they lit the candles). The special Yom Kippur include an Amidah with a lengthy confession of sins. With each confession of sin we lightly pound our fist to our chest.
“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, (A)compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, (D)visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6-7).
The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy-Compassion (Shelosh-‘Esreh Middot) in Exodus 34:6-7 is recited. The thirteen attributes are:
- Adonai — compassion before a person sins;
- Adonai — compassion after a person has sinned;
- El — mighty in compassion to give all creatures according to their need;
- Rachum — merciful, that humankind may not be distressed;
- Chanun — gracious if humankind is already in distress;
- Erech appayim — slow to anger;
- Rav chesed — plenteous in mercy;
- Emet — truth;
- Notzer chesed laalafim — keeping mercy unto thousands;
- Noseh avon — forgiving iniquity;
- Noseh peshah — forgiving transgression;
- Noseh chatah — forgiving sin;
- Venakeh — and pardoning.
The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy-Compassion ends with:
“Adonai, Adonai, benevolent Adonai, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness and truth; He preserves kindness for two thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and He cleanses.”
The Kol Nidrei service can last two hours. Some recite the entire Book of Psalms after the evenings service. On the day before Yom Kippur it is tradition to request and receive “honey cake” in a prayerful hope of a sweet year.
To break the fast its customer to partake in a festive after-fast meal. Upon completion of the fast, we know get to look forward to and anticipate the next festival Sukkot.
Sukkot (The Feast Of Tabernacles)
The next festival we look forward to is the Festival Of Booths in which we remember the time of dwelling in temporary “tents” or “booths” during the 40 years of wandering. If you look at the time frame that Yochanan, the Mikvahist, father was serving in the temple and went mute, as his wife was pregnant, couple in the time that Miriam came to visit and Yochanan leaped inside his mother. Its more than likely when Yeshua was circumcised and redeemed at the temple on the eighth day that it was the Festival of Tabernacles, as they we’re in Jerusalem, its was a Festival-Holy Day. The first chapter of the book of Yochanan, the Revalator, seems to say that the “Word became flesh” and “dwelt among us.” He tabernacled with us.
This is one of the three required festivals for all males who accept a torah based lifestyle. Passover (Pesach), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (The Festival of Booths). The festival of booths helps us remember that we are just sojourners in the land. The Fall holidays end with Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) where we recall the temporary nature of life on this earth by constructing and dwelling in booths. It is also a reminder of the Word who was “made flesh and dwelt among us,” namely, Yeshua the Messiah.