Presentation on theme: "High Holy Days Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur."— Presentation transcript:
High Holy Days Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Background: High Holy Days Definition: “High Holy Days” refers to the ten-day period between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). This period is also known as the “Days of Awe,” or Yamim Noraim.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most widely observed of all Jewish holidays. They include crucial ceremonies, prayers, and observances that carry special meaning for Jewish worshipers. Background
Major themes include: Repentance Renewal Soul-searching Gratitude for God’s forgiveness.
According to Jewish tradition, God uses the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to decide the fate of all people for the coming year. Background
Jews believe that all people can alter the course of their destiny through: Repentance Prayer Acts of charity Background
Background: Rosh Hashanah Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” and is traditionally celebrated as the first day of the Jewish New Year. The festival is celebrated for two days—the first and second days in the month of Tishrai (roughly mid-September to mid-October on the Gregorian calendar).
Leviticus 23:23–25 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.’”
Rosh Hashanah is primarily a time of reflection and repentance for sins made during the past year, and a re-commitment to follow God with more diligence in the year to come. Celebration: Rosh Hashanah
No work is permitted on the two days of Rosh Hashanah. Much of the days are spent in prayer at the synagogue. The people live in the tension between God as Supreme Judge on one hand, and merciful Father on the other.
Ezekiel 18:30–32 “Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.”
Ezekiel 18:30–32 “ Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”
Commemoration: Rosh Hashanah The sounding of the shofar (a ram’s horn, blown somewhat like a trumpet) is the central ritual of Rosh Hashanah.
Numbers 29:1 “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”
Commemoration: Rosh Hashanah The shofar is blown 100 times each day. The ritual symbolizes: The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16–19). God’s coronation, sovereignty, and kingship (Psalm 98:6). God’s grace as demonstrated through Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22). Man’s need for repentance (a moral “wake up” call). The coming Messiah, who will bring physical and spiritual peace to Israel (Isaiah 27:13).
Jews perform the Tashlikh ceremony on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. People throw bread crumbs or stones into a body of running water, symbolically casting off their sin. Celebration: Rosh Hashanah
People are expected to partake in a festival meal on both days of Rosh Hashanah as a form of celebration. Celebration: Rosh Hashanah
Background: Yom Kippur Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) marks the holiest day of the Jewish year. Called by the Bible, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths,” it is primarily a time of fasting and repentance.
Leviticus 16:29–34 “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 the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.
Leviticus 16:29–34 “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.”
Celebration: Yom Kippur Jews spend most of the Day of Atonement in the synagogue. They “afflict their souls” by fasting from food and water, reflecting, and praying.
Leviticus 23:27–28 “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.”
Commemoration: Yom Kippur It is customary to go to a mikvah (ritual bath) before celebrating Yom Kippur. The bath symbolizes man’s act of purification and regeneration, as well as his “new birth” through teshuvah (repentance).
Commemoration: Yom Kippur Jews observe five prayer services during Yom Kippur: Maariv is conducted on the eve of Yom Kippur. Shacharit is the morning prayer. Musaf immediately follows Shacharit. Minchah includes a reading of the Book of Jonah. Neilah is the closing prayer service at sunset.
Several passages of Scripture are read aloud throughout Yom Kippur, including: Leviticus 16:1–34 Numbers 29:7–11 Isaiah 57:14—58:14 The Book of Jonah Commemoration: Yom Kippur
The Day of Atonement also includes a number of special prayers: Evening service begins with a recitation of Kol Nidrei (“all vows”), which is a plea to be released from all unfulfilled vows and commitments we may have made in the previous year. The congregation recites a series of confessionals, including the Avodah. Prayers of Yizkor (remembrance for deceased family members) are also said. Commemoration: Yom Kippur
The Neilah, or closing service, is a liturgy that depicts the heavenly gates closing—leaving an individual one final opportunity to confess, repent, and plead his or her case. The service closes with a recitation of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4–5), and the congregation proclaims “Next year in Jerusalem!” Commemoration: Yom Kippur
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Application The High Holy Days are a time for repentance, or teshuva, which includes: Regret for the past Desisting from sinful behavior Confession before God Resolving not to sin in the future
Application Fasting is an important part of the holiday’s introspection and repentance. Fasting is a way to focus on spiritual matters, a reminder of our frailty and our duty to act charitably and compassionately toward those less fortunate, and a means of self-discipline and penance.
Application The Jewish understanding of teshuvah is based on the belief that man is created with free will and is capable of doing either good or bad. Repentance must be both a change of the heart and a change of action (Psalm 34:14).
Application Our ability to practice repentance is a reflection of God’s grace. The Midrash says: “My children, give me an opening of repentance no bigger than the eye of a needle, and I will widen it into openings through which even wagons and carriages will pass through.”
International Fellowship of Christians and Jews 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 4300 Chicago, IL 60602-3356 www.ifcj.org