28 Elul 5768/28 September 2008
Kol HaTor Weekly
Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah
1 Tishri 5769/30 September 2008
To our Jewish Associates – Articles in this Newsletter with Messianic content are identified with a label Messianic content and conform with KHT’s formal strategy NOT to evangelize Jews. It therefore contains no proselytizing intent. This Messianic content being non-relevant to Jews, mainly has importance for Returning 10-Tribers in the process of working for Reconciliation between Judah and the re-identifying House of 10-Israel.
THE TRIBES OF EPHRAIM AND JUDAH IN ERETZ YISRA’EL AND THE NATIONS -
UNITED IN PRAYER ON YOM TERUAH:
"Let Us Tell How Utterly
Holy This Day Is"
The Full Text (Scanned from the ArtScroll Rosh HaShanah Machzor)
The following is the full translated text of the great
prayer, "U'Netaneh Tokef," attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, as
related to Rabbi Klonimus ben Meshullam
The Ark being Open:
Congregation and chazzan (A Chazzan (pronounce ‘Ch’ as in Bach ) is a cantor, the Jewish religious official of a Shul who conducts the liturgical or musical part of the service and sings or chants the prayers intended to be performed as solos.)
So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our God, are King.
Congregation and chazzan:
Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them - and they will say, 'Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!'- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.
All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.
Congregation then chazzan [in some congregations this is recited only by the chazzan]:
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
Congregation aloud, then Chazzan:
But REPENTANCE, PRAYER and CHARITY
Remove the Evil of the Decree! Congregation and chazzan:
For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately.
It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.
Congregation aloud, then chazzan:
But You are the King, the Living and Enduring G-d.
THE ARK IS CLOSED: Congregation then chazzan:
There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your glory and to elucidate Your Name's inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.
AUDIO: THE THREE DISTINCT SOUNDS OF THE SHOFAR ON YOM TERUAH
Extracts from an article: http://www.aish.com/hhRosh/hhRoshDefault/Symbolism_of_the_Shofar.asp
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
During the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashana, notice there are three distinct sounds:
(Press Control and click underlined “Hear the Shofar” to follow link to the audio sounds)
Let's examine each of these shofar sounds, and see how they relate to the different themes of Rosh Hashana.
The Tekiah Sound
The object of Rosh Hashana is to crown God as our King. Tekiah -- the long, straight shofar blast -- is the sound of the King's coronation. In the Garden of Eden, Adam's first act was to proclaim God as King. And now, the shofar proclaims to ourselves and to the world: God is our King. We set our values straight and return to the reality of God as the One Who runs the world... guiding history, moving mountains, and caring for each and every human being individually and personally.
Maimonides adds one important qualification: It isn't enough that God is MY King alone. If ALL humanity doesn't recognize God as King, then there is something lacking in my own relationship with God. Part of my love for the Almighty is to help guide all people to an appreciation of Him. Of course this is largely an expression of my deep caring for others. But it also affects my own sense of God's all-encompassing Kingship.
The Shevarim Sound
When we think about the year gone by, we know deep down that we've failed to live up to our full potential. In the coming year, we yearn not to waste that opportunity ever again. The Kabbalists say that Shevarim -- three medium, wailing blasts -- is the sobbing cry of a Jewish heart -- yearning to connect, to grow, to achieve.s
At the moment the shofar is blown, we cry out to God from the depths of our soul. This is the moment -- when our souls stand before the Almighty without any barriers -- that we can truly let go.
The Teruah Sound
On Rosh Hashana, we need to wake up and be honest and objective about our lives: Who we are, where we've been, and which direction we're headed. The Teruah sound -- 9 quick blasts in short succession -- resembles an alarm clock, arousing us from our spiritual slumber. The shofar brings clarity, alertness, and focus.
The Talmud says: "When there's judgement from below, there's no need for judgement from above." What this means is that if we take the time to construct a sincere, realistic model of how we've fallen short in the past, and what we expect to change in the future, then God doesn't need to "wake us up" to what we already know.
REFLECTIONS ON ROSH HASHANAH/YOM TERUAH:
On Rosh Hashana, the Shofar reminds us of a Higher Calling.
Extracts from an article
by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.
What is it about the shofar that makes it so special? Why is it incumbent upon every Jew to hear its call? What is the meaning behind those hauntingly primitive sounds? What gives them the power to enter our innermost souls? And why does the Torah designate these sacred days as "Yom Teruah," the "Day of Blowing," rather than Rosh Hashana, the New Year?
Who would not tremble on this day? Indeed, even for our brethren who have long disassociated themselves from our faith, on Rosh Hashana something pulls at them. And even if ever so briefly, they go to synagogue to hear those timeless ancient sounds.
What is it about the shofar that makes it the symbol, the very essence of Rosh Hashana?
The shofar is a call for reconciliation with our Heavenly Father. It is a call to undo our mistakes, renew ourselves and realize our God-given potential.
Who among us has not indulged in wishful thinking? Who among us has no regrets? Who among us has not day dreamed, "If only I could do it all over again...If only I could have another chance...If only I could undo the mistakes of the past..."
The shofar, however, comes to tell us that we can reinvent ourselves, we can undo our past, we can convert our mistakes into learning experiences and start anew. But, you might wonder, how does the shofar convey this?
Our holidays are not merely commemorations of historical events. They are also celebrations of the special energies that those days represent. For example, Passover is not only the remembrance of our exodus from bondage, but it is also a reminder that those days were created for redemption for all eternity - a time of liberation from every form of bondage and addiction, be it material, spiritual, or emotional. We need only will it and we too can free ourselves.
Similarly, all our holidays have a cosmic energy all their own. On Rosh Hashana, God created man. Therefore, it follows that, if we so desire, on Rosh Hashana, God can recreate us, and the shofar comes to remind us of that awesome, miraculous opportunity.
Let's go back to the beginning of time and ask, "How did God create us?"
God shaped a clump of earth into the image of a man, and then breathed into it. That breath of God became man's neshama, soul, transforming that clump of earth into a living being. Man can corrupt his mind, he can taint his heart, but he can never destroy his neshama, for the neshama is a divine spark. Every morning upon arising, we declare in our prayers, "Almighty God, the soul that You gave me is pure. You created it. You breathed it into me..."
To be sure, if Humpty Dumpty falls, he cannot be put together again, but we who carry that Divine spark within us, can. And the shofar is testimony to it. We begin by blowing tekiah, a long, unbroken sound, reminding us that within ourselves we carry the pure breath of God and therefore are holy. The tekiah is followed by shevarim, broken sounds, which tell us that we strayed from our path, lost our way, and forgot our purpose. But once that realization hits us, we are overcome by contrition and we cry out to our God with broken hearts, symbolized by the third sound of the shofar, teruah (tu-tu-tu-tu), the sound of weeping.
Our sages teach that there is nothing as whole in the sight of God as a broken heart, for God is not only our God, our King, but He is Avinu, Av HaRachamon, our Father of compassion and love. And no compassionate father would shut the door on his contrite, weeping children. No father punishes for the sake of punishing. A compassionate father only takes disciplinary measures to bring about correction and change.
And so, we merit the final sound, tekiah gedolah, the great, long, unbroken blast that signals our rebirth. Our pure, God given souls have the power to triumph over our sullied minds and hearts. Once we absorb that truth, God can recreate us.
The Three-Fold Formula
But still, you might protest: can merely listening to the shofar bring about such a transformation? To be sure, one must know how to access its energy.
There is a three-fold formula that we must follow: Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedakah. Repentance, Prayer and Charity. That three-fold path activates our souls, enabling the sound of the shofar to enter its innermost crevices and recreate us.
In the limited space of this article, I cannot possibly expound on all three, so I will confine myself to just one part of the formula that has often been misused and misrepresented: prayer.
Ostensibly, we enter the synagogue to pray, but sadly, most of us never truly experience the wondrous healing balm of prayer. We go through the motions: we open the machzor (the High Holiday prayer book), mouth some words, repeat some prayers with the rabbi or the cantor, but that's where it ends. Our words fall flat; they never take wing. We spend some time chatting with our fellow congregants, wish everyone a Happy New Year and make our way home for our holiday dinners. Meanwhile, we've been distracted from the deep prayer magic of Rosh Hashana.
A man came to see me with a painful problem. Following an acrimonious divorce, his teenage daughter refused to communicate with him.
"Could you speak to her, Rebbetzin," the man pleaded. "I would like to have a relationship with her, and I've heard that you are very good with young people."
I explained to him that, as much as I wanted to help him, since I had never met his daughter, it was unlikely that she would take kindly to my calling her about such a personal matter.
"You are my last hope," he pleaded, "please give it a try."
"I'll give it a shot," I assured him, "but it will take a miracle for me to succeed. You must pray for God's help." "
Me, pray?" the man responded incredulously. And for the first time in our conversation, he actually laughed.
"Rebbetzin," he said, shaking his head, "you've got the wrong person. I'm not religious. I haven't been in a synagogue since my bar mitzvah."
"Has it every occurred to you," I asked, "that God, your Father, would like to have a relationship with you too...that He would like you to visit...that He yearns to hear your voice?"
For a long moment, the man was silent, and then he said, "O.K., you got me, but I don't know how to pray."
"Prayer," I assured him, "is part of the spiritual DNA of every Jew. You need only take your cue from the three sounds of the shofar of Rosh Hashana."
He looked puzzled.
"We sound the shofar," I explained, "by blowing our breath, a part of ourselves, into that ancient instrument. Similarly, prayer must emanate from your innermost soul and cannot be mere empty words. The second step is to simulate the broken sounds: see where you erred and examine your life. Confront it in its naked truth. The third step, the crying sound of the shofar, is an expression of genuine regret and tears.
"If you follow this three-fold formula, you will discover the magic of prayer, prayer that has the power to grant you a new lease on life, symbolized by the final blast of the shofar, tekiah gedolah, the long, unbroken sound. Try it," I urged, "it's a guaranteed formula, going back thousands of years."
The man accepted my challenge. He prayed and I succeeded in prevailing upon his daughter to reunite with her father.
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are just around the corner. How will you pray? How will you reunite with your Heavenly Father? Will your visit with Him have meaning, or will it be "same old, same old"? Take your cue from the shofar. Your life and the life of your people are on the line. How will you pray?
A ROSH HASHANAH POEM:
The New Year
Rosh-Hashanah, 5643 (1882)
By Emma Lazarus
Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies, -
When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn
A sea of beauty and abundance lies,
Then the new year is born.
Look where the mother of the months uplifts
In the green clearness of the unsunned West,
Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts,
Cool, harvest-feeding dews, fine-winnowed light;
Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest
Profusely to requite.
Blow, Israel, the sacred cornet! Call
Back to thy courts whatever faint heart throb
with thine ancestral blood, thy need craves all.
The red, dark year is dead, the year just born
Leads on from anquish wrought by priest and mob,
To what undreamed-of morn?
For never yet, since on the holy height,
The Temple’s marble walls of white and green
Carved like the sea-waves, fell, and the world’s light
Went out in darkness, - never was the year
Greater with potent and with promise seen,
Than this eve now and here.
Even as the Prophet promised, so your tent
Hath been enlarged unto earth’s farthest rim,
To snow-capped Sierras from vast steppes ye went,
Through fire and blood and tempest-tossing wave,
For Freedom to proclaim and worship Him,
Mighty to slay and save.
High above flood and fire ye held the scroll,
Out of the depths ye published still the Word.
No bodily pang had power to swerve your soul:
Ye, in a cynic age of crumbling faiths,
Lived to bear witness to the living L-ord,
Or died a thousand deaths.
In two divided streams the exiles part,
One rolling homeward to its ancient source,
One rushing sunward with fresh will, new heart.
By each the truth is spread, the law unfurled,
Each separate soul contains the nation’s force,
And both embrace the world.
Kindle the silver candle’s seven rays.
Offer the first fruits of the clustered bowers.
The garnered spoil of bees. With prayer and praise
Rejoice that once more tried, once more we prove
How strength of supreme suffering still is ours
For Truth and Law and Love.
From “Celebration The Book of Jewish Festivals” by Jonathan David Publishers,Inc. Middle Village, New York 11379.
TEACHINGS IN PREPARATION FOR YOM KIPPUR:TEA
- Excerpted from: The Book of Our Heritage. Published and copyright by Feldheim. www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/4829/jewish/Wearing-White.htm
Many have a custom of wearing white clothing on Yom Kippur in emulation of the ministering angels. Some people wear a kittel, a white robe worn over the clothing. Because it is similar to the burial shroud, it serves to remind us of man's mortality and the need for teshuvah. The kittel should not be decorated with gold, for gold recalls the sin of the golden calf and that which was a source of prosecution for the Jew cannot be transformed into a defender. It is permissible, however, to decorate the kittel with silver, for silver is close to white, symbolizing purity and mercy.
It is a tradition in all Jewish communities to wear a large tallit on Yom Kippur evening. The white of the tallit also serves to suggest purity and mercy.
The story is told of a great righteous man who stood before the congregation one Yom Kippur eve, and addressed his fellow Jews, who were all clad in white garments and wrapped in their white tallitot.
My brothers and sisters, children of Israel! Take to heart that it is in white garments like these we are wearing now, that we shall ascend to the World to Come to be judged and give our accounting before the King of all kings, the Holy One, blessed is He.
Let us then imagine that we are standing in this clothing before the Throne of Glory to be judged and give our final accounting. We should have true remorse, for one who stands before the Throne of Glory is truly remorseful. But, my brothers and sisters, repentance does not avail after death-only now does it avail! Let us truly regret all our sins and accept upon ourselves that we shall sin no more, and let us ask the King who grants forgiveness that He grant us forgiveness and atonement.
SACRED FEASTS SEPT. 2008
Holidays begin at sundown on the evening before the date listed.
Jewish Holidays 5769
Dates in 2008-2009
NOTE – As part of the Reconciliation Vision, Kol HaTor promotes a Return to the Rabbinic authority also regarding the Sacred Calendar. Kol HaTor sees the Karaite insistence on self-determination of the dates in preference to the Rabbinical determined Calendar as another source of great confusion and division with great detrimental affects on the Divinely appointed Reconciliation
EXTRACTS FROM A TEACHING BY HILLEL BEN DAVID WITH REFERENCES TO THE TANAKH, THE TALMUD, THE SAGES AND THE NEW TESTAMENT. Messianic content
The feast of the tenth day of the seventh month, called Tishri, is commonly called Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. The Torah calls this festival “Yom HaKippurim” or “Yom Kippurim” which means “Day of The Atonements” or “Day of Atonements”.
Yom Kippurim, the Day of Atonements, is the anniversary of the day Moses brought down from Mount Sinai the second set of Ten Commandments. This signified that HaShem forgave the Jewish people for the transgression of the Golden Calf. For all times this day was decreed to be a day of forgiveness for our mistakes. However, this refers to transgressions against HaShem. Transgressions against our fellow man require us to correct our mistakes and seek forgiveness. So, more than anything else, this is a day for confession and repentance. The whole liturgy of this day centers on these two aspects. Repentance was one of the seven things created before the world began:
Nedarim 39b Seven things were created before the world, viz., The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord possessed me [sc. the Torah] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world . . . Thou turnest man to destruction, and sayest, Repent, ye sons of men. The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden from aforetime. Gehenna, as it is written, For Tophet is ordained of old. The Throne of Glory, as it is written, Thy Throne is established from of old. The Temple, as it is written, A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. The name of the Messiah, as it is written, His name [sc. of Messiah] shall endure for ever, and [has existed] before the sun!
This feast is initially described in:
Vayikra (Leviticus) 23: 26-32 HaShem said to Moses, "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to HaShem by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before HaShem your G-d. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your Sabbath."
The word "Atonement" is defined by Strong's as:
3725 kippur, kip-poor'; from 3722; expiation (only in plural):-atonement.
In Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27, this feast is called Yom HaKippurim.
Bereans (Hebrews) 9:7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
The goat for Azazel, however, is said to be an atonement for intentional sins.
Kippurim means to appease, make atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge away, put off, and make reconciliation.
Yom HaKippurim is the actual scriptural name for this festival, which means the Day of the Atonements. The meaning has two connotations to it: one, that a person repents to HaShem for his sins that he has committed and asks HaShem for his forgiveness and the other is to ask for repentance from your fellow man for the sins that you have committed against him.
There are two aspects of Yom HaKippurim for which everyone must strive on this sacred day: atonement and purity or cleansing [Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:30]. Atonement and purity are two processes. Our first goal on Yom HaKippurim is to earn HaShem’s merciful decision not to punish us for past misdeeds. That is atonement. It requires sincere teshuva (repentance). Purity is the pursuit of purpose for which HaShem created us. Man is called upon to endow his entire life with the attitude that every deed, morsel, and thought must be directed toward achieving that purpose. To be a wellspring of this purity is the function of Yom HaKippurim. It requires a renewed quest for purity and it provides the spiritual conditions that make it possible.
On Yom HaKippurim, there is a particular obligation to arouse one's soul. Every sin consists of the deed and of the attitudes that underlie it. Just as man can more easily control his hands than his eyes, his actions than his imagination, so it is infinitely easier to avoid sinning in deed and to repent from sinful deeds than it is to avoid, and repent from sinful thoughts. Yom HaKippurim, the day of purity, calls for one to uproot those attitudes and thoughts.
What is there about Yom HaKippurim that proclaims purity? The Rambam provides us an insight: “There is a further positive commandment on Yom HaKippurim. It is to rest from eating and drinking. It is forbidden to bathe, to apply oil to the body, to wear shoes, or to cohabitate. It is a positive commandment to rest from all these just as it is to rest from eating.” 
The purpose of fasting on Yom HaKippurim is not self-affliction. That is if eating, drinking, and other activities are ordeals from which one is freed on Yom HaKippurim. Indeed, if we understand Yom HaKippurim properly, then we realize that it is truly a day of rest. The activities on Yom HaKippurim represent the indulgence of the animal part of the body-soul partnership that is in man. "Purity" requires the supremacy of mind and soul; such indulgences stand in the way.
Viduy (confession) is inseparable from teshuva (repentance). The Torah's commandment to repent makes explicit mention of confession, not of repentance (Bamidbar (Numbers) 5:6-7). There can be no repentance unless it is accompanied by a verbal confession. As an intelligent, thinking imaginative being, man has all sorts of thoughts flashing constantly through his mind. Even sublime thoughts of remorse and self-improvement are not strange to him, but they do not last. For his thoughts to have meaning, he must instill them into words, because the process of thought culminates when ideas are expressed and clarified. That is not as easy as it sounds. It is usually excruciatingly difficult for people to admit explicitly that they have done wrong. We excuse ourselves. We refuse to admit the truth. We shift blame. We deny the obvious. We excel at rationalizing. But the person who pauses, thinks, and wrenches from himself the unpleasant truth, "I have sinned," has performed a great, meaningful act. That is why verbal confession is necessary before repentance can be regarded as complete.
Although sincere repentance suffices to obtain forgiveness for sins committed against HaShem, no amount of remorse can atone for sins committed against one fellow's man. To gain atonement for sins against other human beings, one must first gain their forgiveness and repay them for any monetary damages and overdue debts. This should be done all through the year, but before Yom HaKippurim it is especially vital since there is no way to gain HaShem's forgiveness for the interpersonal sins that are so prevalent, day in, day out. Even if someone has hurt his fellow through a 'clever' remark or an insulting comment, he must appease him.
If the aggrieved party refuses to forgive at the first request, the guilty party should ask a second and a third time. The requests should be made before three witnesses. If the aggrieved party still refuses to forgive, the offender need not pursue the matter further, but he should announce before ten people that he has made sincere attempt to gain forgiveness.
Someone who is asked to forgive should do so without harshness; not to forgive is cruel. The only justification for not forgiving are: a sincere desire to make the transgressor feel remorse and resolve not to repeat his misdeed; a fear that one will suffer further harassment if he is too forgiving; or if someone has been slandered and the public will not learn that the accusation was false.
Erev Yom HaKippurim
The day before Yom HaKippurim is a mixture of confident joy in HaShem's mercy and forgiveness, and repentant preparation for the awesome judgment of Yom HaKippurim itself. The joyful aspect of the day is expressed scripturally by the commandment to feast as if it were a festival. Indeed, the sages teach that everyone who eats on erev Yom HaKippurim is rewarded as if pleasurable mitzva (commandment) were as painful and difficult as the fast of Yom HaKippurim (Mishnah Berurah 1).
It is customary to eat two festive meals on Erev Yom HaKippurim, one at midday and the other called seudah hamafsekes, meal before the fast. One should dip his challah in honey (or sugar) and eat fish and meat at the first meal. However, one should be careful to eat only easily digestible foods and refrain from eating hot foods, whose primary ingredient is milk, eggs, or garlic. Also, one should not overeat, so that he not approach Yom HaKippurim in a mood of arrogance and self-indulgence.
It is meritorious to invite the needy to join in the meals. Psalm 126 should be recited before Bircat haMazon (grace after a meal), and the all the blessings during and after the meals should be recited with feeling and concentration, in view of the imminence of Yom HaKippurim.
It is the custom for men over the bar mitzva age (12 for girls, 13 for boys) to immerse themselves in a mikveh on Erev Yom HaKippurim. The best time to do so is close to Mincha (afternoon prayers) so the confession of the Shemoneh Esrei will be said in a state of spiritual purity. Women may immerse themselves also. No blessing is recited at this immersion (Mishnah Berurah 17-18).
On this day, sometime soon, our Great High Priest, Yeshua, will go into the Temple made without hands and sprinkle His own blood on the mercy seat. [Bereans (Hebrews) 8:1-13]. This will mark the beginning of the “new (“new” means “renewed”) covenant”. This covenant is a renewal of the covenant that HaShem made with us at Sinai.
HaShem will forgive Israel of their sin in worshipping the golden calf [Devarim (Deuteronomy) 9:18, Shemot (Exodus) 34].
This is the only day, during the year, when all of HaShem’s people will kneel before their G-d as the High Priest pronounces the ineffable Name of HaShem. This day they feel especially near to HaShem.
Today Moses will come down from Sinai for the third time.
The folks returning from seventy years of captivity in Babylon will fast today when they observe Yom HaKippurim.
Nabal will die today because of his sin against the HaShem’s anointed, David, who will soon rule over all of Israel. Nabal did not give David food, for the performance of the mitzva, to eat choice food and sweet drink on Yom Teruah (The Feast of Trumpets).
Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:8-13 "'Count off seven Sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. "'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.
Today is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you. (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32), in contrast to the seventh day Sabbath which was called “a Sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord”.. This was to be a “lasting ordinance” (Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:31).
Today Yechezkel (Ezekiel) was brought to a very high mountain to measure and see a Temple that was like a city. This huge Temple has not yet been built. When this Temple is built, we will, again, have sin sacrifices (Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40, 43:21). During the time of this Temple, HaShem’s people will sanctify HaShem’s Sabbaths and observe the Lord’s appointed feasts (Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 44:24)
The Temple observance of this feast is described in:
Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:2-34 HaShem said to Moses:
"Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
"This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
"Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before HaShem at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for HaShem and the other for Azazel. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to HaShem and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before HaShem to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.
"Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before HaShem and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before HaShem, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.
"He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.
"Then he shall come out to the altar that is before HaShem and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.
"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.
"Then Aaron is to go into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. He shall bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
"The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and offal are to be burned up. The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.
"This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work--whether native-born or an alien living among you-- Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before HaShem, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments And make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community. "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites." And it was done, as HaShem commanded Moses.
The Days of Awe are festivals of a special character, celebrated in the month of that feast which, among the feasts of the community, has as its content: arriving at rest. What distinguishes the Days of Awe from all other festivals is that here, and only here, does the Sephardic Jew kneel. He does not kneel to confess a fault or to pray for forgiveness of sins, acts to which this festival is primarily dedicated. He kneels only in beholding the immediate nearness of HaShem, hence on an occasion which transcends the earthly needs of today.
The congregation now rises to the feeling of HaShem's nearness as it sees in memory the Temple service, and visualizes especially the moment when the High Priest, this once in all the year, pronounced the ineffable Name of HaShem, and the assembled people fell on their knees.
Yeshayah (Isaiah) 45:22-25 "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am G-d, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, 'In HaShem alone are righteousness and strength.'" All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in HaShem all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.
Romans 14:5-12 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to G-d; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to G-d. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Mashiach died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before G-d's judgment seat. It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to G-d.'" So then, each of us will give an account of himself to G-d.
Philippians 2:1-11 If you have any encouragement from being united with Mashiach, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Mashiach Yeshua: Who, being in very nature G-d, did not consider equality with G-d something to be grasped, But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore G-d exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue confess that Yeshua Mashiach is Lord, to the glory of G-d the Father.
I see the goal of Yom HaKippurim as a return to the garden of Eden. This return to Eden is highlighted by the mikveh (immersion) in water. Water was one of the two things which came out of the garden (the other thing was sinful people). The atonement wrought for us on this day is also indicative of our state while we lived in the garden. During this feast we symbolically rehearse our return to HaShem who walked with us in the garden of Eden.
Teshuvah means "Return".
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:1-10 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever HaShem your G-d disperses you among the nations, And when you and your children return to HaShem your G-d and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, Then HaShem your G-d will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there HaShem your G-d will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. HaShem your G-d will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. HaShem your G-d will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey HaShem and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then HaShem your G-d will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. HaShem will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, If you obey HaShem your G-d and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul.
Eichah (Lamentations) 3:31-50 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. To crush underfoot all prisoners in the land, To deny a man his rights before the Most High, To deprive a man of justice--would not the Lord see such things? Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to HaShem. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to G-d in heaven, and say: "We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.
"You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us; you have slain without pity. You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through. You have made us scum and refuse among the nations. "All our enemies have opened their mouths wide against us. We have suffered terror and pitfalls, ruin and destruction." Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, Until HaShem looks down from heaven and sees.
Hoshea (Hosea) 3:1-5 HaShem said to me, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as HaShem loves the Israelites, though they turn to other G-ds and love the sacred raisin cakes."
So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, "You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you." For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek HaShem their G-d and David their king. They will come trembling to HaShem and to his blessings in the last days.
The Haftarah portion for the Sabbath during the Awesome days: Hoshea (Hosea) 14:1-9
The Haftarah portion for the Sabbath during the Awesome days: Yoel (Joel) 2:11-27
The Torah teaches us that “You must deny yourself”:
Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work--whether native-born or an alien living among you.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."
Bamidbar (Numbers) 29:7 "'On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly. You must deny yourselves and do no work.
You must do no work! It is a lasting ordinance.
You must fast, don't even drink,
no love making,
do not anoint your body with oil, and
do not wear leather shoes.
As you can see, the body is quite deprived on Yom HaKippurim. Such abstention is not meant to be a sick kind of torture. Though abstention from each item on the above list has its own reason behind it, collectively, the five are meant to draw us away temporarily from our bodies' desires. As a result, we can focus more pointedly on our soul. Just for the day.
(By the way - notice I say bodily "desires" and not "needs." If someone has a medical NEED to eat or drink or bathe, etc..., then they must go ahead and do so (Consult a Hakham if there is any doubt.). But your average healthy adult can survive the twenty-five hours without these things. True, it's not comfortable, but it is livable.)
A sick person is fed at the word of experts. If there are no experts present, he is fed if he wishes, until he says, Enough!
Bereshit (Genesis) 9:5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
It is also said:
Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 7:16 Do not be over righteous, neither be over wise--why destroy yourself?
So the sick man is fed against his will.
Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 And [this] shall be a statute for ever unto you: [that] in the seventh month, on the tenth [day] of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, [whether it be] one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
2708 chuqqah, chook-kaw'; fem. of 2706, and mean. substantially the same:- appointed, custom, manner, ordinance, site, statute.
2706 choq, khoke; from 2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space quantity, labor or usage):-appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree (-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance (-nary), portion, set time, statute, task.
Rosh Hashanah 9a-b – “Whence then does R. Ishmael derive the rule that an addition is to be made from the profane on to the holy? From what has been taught: And ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day of the month in the evening from evening to evening, shall ye keep your Sabbath (Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:32). I might think literally on the ninth day. It therefore says, In the evening. If in the evening, I might think, after dark? It therefore says, on the ninth day [and after dark would be on the tenth]. What then am I to understand? That we begin fasting while it is yet day; which shows that we add from the profane on to the holy. I know this so far only in regard to the inception of the holy day; how do I know it in regard to its termination? Because it says, from evening to evening. So far I have brought only the Day of Atonement under the rule, how do I know that it applies to Sabbaths also? Because it says, ye shall rest. How do I know that it applies to festivals? Because it says, your Sabbath. How am I to understand this? That wherever there is an obligation to rest, we add from the profane on to the holy.
What then does R. Akiba make of this, and ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day? He requires it for the lesson learnt by R. Hiyya b. Rab from Difti. For R. Hiyya b. Rab from Difti learnt: "And ye shall afflict your souls on the ninth day". Do we then fast on the ninth day? Is it not on the tenth day that we fast? We do; but the use of this word indicates that if a man eats and drinks on the ninth day, the scripture accounts it to him as if he fasted on both the ninth and the tenth days.”
Shemot (Exodus) 30:1-10 - "Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high--its horns of one piece with it. Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it. Make two gold rings for the altar below the molding--two on opposite sides--to hold the poles used to carry it. Make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony--before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony--where I will meet with you.
"Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before HaShem for the generations to come. Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it.
II Luqas (Acts) 27:9 speaks of Paul's sailing during "the fast". "The Fast" was another name given to the Day of Atonement. Curiously, the Tanach does not command a fast, but rather to “deny yourselves”. It is only in the oral law (Mishna Yoma) that we find that this “deny yourselves” includes a fast.”
II Luqas (Acts) 27:1-10 “When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us. The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs.
From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea. Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also."
The Yovel, or Jubilee, year begins on Yom HaKippurim:
Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:8-18 - "'Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
"'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property. "'If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other. You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what he is really selling you is the number of crops. Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your G-d. I am HaShem your G-d. "'Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.”
The Sages teach that the slave go free on the tenth of Tishri, but the Yovel year begins on the first of Tishri:
Rosh HaShana 8b AND FOR JUBILEE YEARS. [is the New Year for] Jubilees on the first of Tishri? Surely [the New Year for] Jubilees is on the tenth of Tishri, as it is written, on the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn? — What authority is here followed? R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan b. Beroka, as it has been taught: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year. What is the point of these words? [It is this]. Since it says, On the day of atonement [ye shall make proclamation ], I might think that the year is sanctified only from the Day of Atonement onwards. Therefore it says, And ye shall sanctify the fiftieth year. This teaches that it is sanctified from its inception. On this ground R. Ishmael the son of R. Johanan b. Beroka laid down that from New Year to the Day of Atonement slaves were neither dismissed to their homes nor subjected to their masters, but they ate and drank and made merry, wearing garlands on their heads. When the Day of Atonement came, the Beth din sounded the horn; slaves were dismissed to their homes and fields returned to their original owners. And the Rabbis [ — what do they make of this verse]? — [They say it teaches that] you are to sanctify years but not months.
Rashi indicates that we have the beginning of a Yovel year in:
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40:1- “In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city--on that very day the hand of HaShem was upon me and he took me there.”
This is derived from:
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 1:1-3 – “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of G-d. On the fifth of the month--it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin-- The word of HaShem came to Yechezkel (Ezekiel) the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of HaShem was upon him. The thirtieth year ... from the Jubilee...”
The customary greeting for the day is:
“Gemar Chatimah Tovah”
May you be finally sealed for good
(in the Book of Life).
Every Jew is required to immerse himself in a mikveh (ritual bath/pool) on Erev Yom HaKippurim in respect for the sanctity of the day and so as to repent and be purified of sin. This practice dates back to the time of the prophets.
It is preferable to put on white clothing to resemble the ministering angels.
It is also customary to put on a kittel, which is white and clean, and the garment worn by the dead, as well. With this example before him, a man's heart becomes submissive and broken.
When we light the candles for Yom HaKippurim we say the blessing for lighting the candles and the Shehekiyanu blessing.
The shofar is blown to mark the end of Yom HaKippurim, at the end of Neilah - The Closing Service.
This is the final sealing of the heavenly gates.
In the Yom HaKippurim prayer service we say the Viduy, a confession, and the Al Chet, a list of transgressions between man and HaShem and between man and man. It is interesting to note two things. First, the transgressions are listed in alphabetical order (in Hebrew). This not only makes a comprehensive list, but gives a framework to include whatever transgression you wish to include under the proper letter.
Secondly, the Viduy and Al Chet are stated in the plural. This teaches us that we are one interwoven people responsible for each other. Even if we did not commit a particular offense we carry a certain measure of responsibility for those who transgressed, especially if we could have prevented the transgression.
Yom HaKippurim events
Tishrei 10 - Yom HaKippurim
Period of teshuvah / repentance day 40.
The Awesome Days / Yamim Noraim, day 10.
G-d is reconciled to the Israelites after the golden calf. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 9:18 / Shemot (Exodus) 34
Moses returns from his third, forty day trip up Mount Sinai with the second set of tablets. (2449)
Nabal dies after refusing to feed David's men. 1 Shmuel (Samuel) 25:36-39
Ninevites repent and fast after Jonah preaches. Jonah 3:1-10
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) measures the future Temple. Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40:1-5
People, returning from Babylon, fast. Zechariah 7:3
Israel is commanded to "deny themselves" (five kinds of fasting.) Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:27
Pharisees question Yochanan (John) the Baptist on why he is baptizing. Yochanan (John) 1:24-28
We should also realize that there are no "bargains" in forgiveness from HaShem. Each of us must exert himself to do teshuvah. Only after a long day of fasting, praying and admitting sins can we hope to be granted forgiveness and connection to HaShem.
Judah and Ephraim are coming home!
Until next week from the Kol HaTor team!
PEACE AND BLESSINGS
Compiling editor: Agatha van der Merwe
Content control: OvadYah Avrahami
Participating editors: Dr Robert Mock, Geoffrey Meservy-Norman, Stephen Spykerman
Torah Guidance: Rabbi Avraham Feld
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