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The Jewish People are unparalleled in culture and tradition – especially when it comes to times and observances set aside to honor their relationship with the Creator of the Universe.
The world of Judaism is the weekend entering into the “High Holy Days” with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It will be celebrated here in America beginning at sundown this Friday, September 15th and ending on the evening of Sunday, September 17th.
This marks a special time – one which God himself proclaimed as one of seven times each year He designates as “my appointed times.”
God told Moses in Leviticus 23: 1-2: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them. ‘These are my appointed times, the times of the Lord that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies.'” The seven unique periods set aside by God are known as the “Moadim” which translates “appointed times” in Hebrew. The word is not limited to mean a festive time or season of celebration. It is a marker in the Jewish Year to remember and reflect on all the times when God revealed Himself as mighty and strong, loving and holy.
Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of the Year” and is observed on the first day of the month of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar. Unlike the secular New Year, Rosh Hashanah is not observed with frivolity and celebration. It is a Jewish holiday, marked by intense moral and spiritual introspection. A time to take inventory of the life given to them – and to spread their lives before the Supreme Judge and Ruler. Because of the gravity, the mood is one of solemnity and prayerful contrition before God.
Jewish sages teach that the fates of men are “written” as God judges the World on Rosh Hashanah. These judgements are “sealed” ten days later on Yom Kippur -“the Day of Atonement”- and the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar.
The period in between the two Holy Days is known as the “Ten Days of Repentance,” or the “The Days of Awe.” Before God takes up His pen to write a final judgement, time is allotted to men to atone for past mistakes and resolve new paths.
The liturgy of the Rosh Hashanah morning service is among the most beautiful and moving prayers of the Jewish year. “Today the world was born. Today, in judgement, there stands before You all creatures of the world, as children, or as slaves. If we may call ourselves your children, show us mercy as a father shows mercy to his children. If we are but slaves, our eyes are focused on You that You might have compassion and decide our case in judgement as brightness in Light, awesome and Holy God.”
How can Christians share Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashanah, according to Jewish tradition is the birthday of our Universe. The day God created Adam and Eve. The birthday of Humanity.
This is an “appointed time” when we can join our Jewish brethren in celebrating with a prayer that God will continue to help us – Christian and Jew – to better cherish the gift of His creation for which we can all be grateful!
L’shanah tovah tikatevu v’techatemu
(May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year)
President/Proclaiming Justice to The Nations