The Tabernacle Times
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September 2014                               Elul5774 - Tishrei 5775                            Volume 9 Issue 9

The High Holy Days

Rabbi & Brenda

by Rabbi Jeremy
and Brenda
Storch

  The fall season is considered the time of the high holy days for the Jewish community. Three major holy days occur in the first 21 days of the biblical month of Tishri (Sept/Oct). Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is observed on the first and second day of Tishri. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls on the tenth day of Tishri. It is the most solemn day of the Jewish year. Of all of the holidays and festivals celebrated in Judaism these are the only two holidays that are purely religious, they are not tied to historical or natural events. The season ends with the eight days of Sukkot.

Rosh Hashanah



Stewardship
Happy Rosh Hashanah !
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the Lord by fire”. (Leviticus 23:23-25)

Rosh Hashanah is a time for personal introspection and prayer, a time of “putting your spiritual house in order”. It is the “Day of Judgment” as Jews worldwide examine their past deeds, and ask for forgiveness for sin. It is also the “Day of Remembrance”, as they review the history of their people and pray for Israel. It is a part of the process of spiritual growth. The Hebrew month preceding it, Elul, is a time for preparation for the “Days of Awe”, the 10 day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The traditions of Rosh Hashanah are simple as the only commandment specified for the holiday is the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn), therefore, it is more widely know as Yom Teruah (The Day of The Awakening Blast/Festival of Trumpets). In synagogues across the globe the shofar is sounded daily to alert the faithful that the time of repentance is near. Because the theme of Rosh Hashanah is repentance, the observance takes on a solemn character, yet always with hope because of God’s forgiveness.

Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah
A good new year, a sweet new year
Apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah

Well your kids probably didn’t grow up singing that song but mine did and every year when Rosh Hashanah rolls around I am reminded that this year will be a good new year, a sweet new year. Why am I so confident? Although there are very few similarities between the more somber Rosh Hashanah and the wild parties of the American New Year there is, however, one important one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions." Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

Rosh Hashanah remembers the creation of the world. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means the “head of the year” and it traditionally celebrated with holiday greeting cards, special prayers, and festive sweet foods like apples and honey symbolizing sweetness, blessings abundance and the hope for a sweet year ahead. The weekly braided Challah is replaced with a round one, symbolizing that last year’s end and the New Year’s beginning are in fact one. If you would like a recipe for Sweet Round Raison Challah just send a self addressed, stamped envelope to our office!

Days of Awe

The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim) or the Days of Repentance. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.
One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that G-d has "books" that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d's decree. The actions that change the decree are "teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah," repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

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Among the customs of this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most sacred of the Jewish holidays; it is the “Sabbath of Sabbaths.” The name itself describes the holy day for it was on this very day, once a year that the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the nation. See Leviticus 23:26-32. What started on Rosh Hashanah, repentance & self-evaluation, was completed on Yom Kippur with atonement and regeneration.

Yom Kippur is a day of “NOT” doing. There is no eating or drinking, or festivities of any kind. On the eve of Yom Kippur all gather at the synagogue and the cantor begins the “Kol Nidre” which emphasizes the importance in keeping vows, as violating an oath is one of the worst sins. It is the only service of the year during which the doors to the Ark remain open from the beginning to end of the service, signifying that the gates of Heaven are open at this time.

For us as Messianic believers, each of these holidays is filled with the special presence of Yeshua. Please plan to join us and learn more about the holidays and how Yeshua/Jesus has fulfilled, is fulfilling, and will fulfill these precious times and seasons. Rosh Hashanah will be celebrated on Wednesday, Sept. 24th at 7:30 PM and Thursday, Sept. 25th at 11:00 AM. Yom Kippur will be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 3rd at 7:30PM and Saturday, Oct. 4th at 11:00 AM.

Sukkot

...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD. -Leviticus 23:34

The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu, the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals. Like Passover and Shavuot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering.

The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. Sukkot lasts for seven days. It is the time of bringing in the fall harvest. It is the Jewish “Thanksgiving” and it is widely believed that the Puritan colonists, who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures, based the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkot. In traditional Judaism, Sukkot is celebrated for eight days. Each family builds a Sukkah (booth) or temporary hut to stay in for the entire holiday. The most important part of the Sukkah is the roof. The covering for the roof can be anything that grows from the ground, but is arranged in such a manner that the stars can be seen through it.

Every evening of Sukkot, blessings are said over the lulav (palm branch, myrtle branch and a willow branch) and the etrog (a citrus fruit from Israel). They are waved in every direction to symbolize the harvest and God’s omnipresence over his world.


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The Tabernacle in Branson The Tabernacle is an outreach of Tabernacle of Praise Ministries, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Tabernacle is led by Messianic Rabbi Jeremy Storch and is located in Branson, Missouri. If you have questions or comments, please email us at: info@TheTabernacleInBranson.com. Visit The Tabernacle Website at www.TheTabernacleInBranson.com