Tomorrow night is Rosh Hashana, one of the two High HoIy Days of Judaism, or “Days of Awe,” as they are called in Hebrew.
The other High Holy Day, nine days later, is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Just as there are many Christians who only go to church on Christmas and Easter, there are many Jews who only go to synagogue on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
The combination of the unique importance of the High Holy Days and the uniquely large number of Jews in synagogue makes the rabbis’ sermons on these days their most important of the year. Many rabbis begin preparing for them months in advance.
One of the themes of these High Holy Days is an “accounting of the soul.” Jews ask themselves: What type of person have I been this past year, and how can I be a better person next year?
That is why the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are known as “The Ten Days of Repentance.” Some variation on this subject is what rabbis have most often talked about for as long as they have given these sermons.
Another theme of the two Holy Days is mortality. As the most famous of the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers puts it: “Who will live and who will die? … Who will be tormented and who will be at peace? … Who will die by fire and who will die by drowning?”
It’s serious, sobering stuff.
And the liturgy is all about God. The other Jewish biblical holidays—Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (the Feast of the Tabernacles, or the “Holiday of Booths”)—all commemorate Jewish national events.
But Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are universal holidays. And the liturgy repeats and repeats one overwhelming theme: On this day, God judges humanity—yes, every single human being.
Given these enormous themes, …read more
From:: Daily Signal – Feed