31. Chapter 8p: Jewish Geography: The Holidays: Rosh Hashana / Yom Kippur


VIII.    The Holidays

          In addition to Shabbos, there are five major holidays in the Jewish calendar whose observance includes many of the same laws.  They are called “Yom Tov” and each one has its own special mitzvos, mood and focus.

          Rosh Hashana

          The first holiday, in chronological order, is Rosh Hashana and means “head (beginning) of the year.”  It is the beginning of the Jewish year and inaugurates a ten day period of serious reflection and repentance, culminating with Yom Kippur.

          On Rosh Hashana, the entire world is judged by the Almighty and we proclaim Him as our King.  To evoke His mercy, we blow the shofar (ram’s horn).  The mood of the day is somber, yet celebratory, because we believe that G-d is merciful in his judgment and will grant us a good year.

          Yom Kippur   (the tenth day from Rosh Hashanah)

          On Rosh Hashana we are judged and on Yom Kippur our verdict is sealed.  It is our final chance to show our regret for our past misdeeds and to plead for forgiveness.

          Jews are not permitted to eat on this day; we fast for an entire 25 hours. We try to maintain our focus upon spiritual matters exclusively, hence prayer services are the only activity of the day and many spend the entire waking time in the synagogue.  We are taught Yom Kippur is a holy day when G-d is more accessible to receive our true repentance.

          The mood of the day is very serious, reflecting our constant awareness of standing before the Almighty judge, confessing our wrongdoings and pleading for His forgiveness; yet the Talmud advises us that Yom Kippur is the happiest day of the year precisely because on this day those who truly repent are granted forgiveness.




COM_EASYBLOG_GUEST Sunday, 18 March 2018
Last updated on: 03/18/2018
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