I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

28 September 2011

Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah

Messianic Seal & German-Hebrew Tanakh
Photo by J. Stahl

Rosh Hashanah / ראש השנה : Head of the Year
Torah : Genesis 21:1-21:34
Maftir : Numbers 29:1-6
Haftarah : 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10

Generally speaking, around this time of year, there are a few disagreements on whether it is better to call this holiday "Yom Teruah" or "Rosh Hashanah" in the Messianic Community.  Personally, both are very accurate terms for the same holiday. And generally, there is also a disagreement about the fact this is a two day (instead of one day), holiday. . . as well as the disagreement about this being the "head of the year". I believe a lot of the discussion and argument stems from the fact that there are those who feel more "Sola Scriptura" about things, those who are ignorant of tradition, and those who know about tradition but are unsure if they should follow it, and those of us who are following tradition.

To explain things a little, the whole "head of the year issue" is very easily clarified over at Hebrew4Christians
In practical terms, however, there are two "New Years" in Jewish tradition. The first occurs two weeks before Passover (Nisan 1) and the second occurs ten days before Yom Kippur (the other two "new years" are not regularly observed, except by the Ultra Orthodox)...
-John Parsons

 As far as the other Calendar-related arguments go, I would ask you to read this article here.

And as to why the holy day is celebrated for two days, this is a fairly explanatory video:

...Regarding Rosh Hashanah the holiness of the second day is not considered a rabbinical addition; rather the two days of Rosh Hashanah are officially considered as one long day.
-Ask Moses

Yom Teruah

“23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel , saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.”
(Vayikra / Leviticus 23:23 – 25)

...It is a two day festival, and the reasons for that will become apparent shortly.

Yom Teruah, which means “Day of the Awakening Blast, Day of Shouting,” has several names. Its most common name is Rosh HaShannah, which means “head of the year.” It is the recognized as the Jewish New Year because of its importance in the Scriptures. However this is a secular title and its celebration as the New Year can cause us to miss some of its message. We will examine some of the other names in a few moments, but first we need to return to Yom Teruah.

On Yom Teruah we have a memorial of blowing trumpets, and it is imperative for
every person to hear the shofar. Why is this? There are two reasons, 1) We are to remember our fathers being delivered from Egypt (and our deliverance from sin and the curse). 2) We are in preparation, looking forward to the last trumpet. In I Corinthians 15:51, 52 we read,

“51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

Likewise we also see in I Thessalonians 4:13 – 17:

“13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

These Scriptures are speaking of the same event, the return of Yeshua haMashiach for His people, Israel . The church system calls this the Rapture and attempts to place it before the seven years Tribulation, but to do so would do an injustice to the integrity of the Fall festivals as a prophetic instrument. Just as Yeshua fulfilled the Spring festivals in one fell swoop, so will He also do the same concerning the Fall festivals.

Notice the above Scriptures do not say that we will be in Heaven, contrary to Christian belief. It simply states that we will be forever with HaAdonai / the Lord. This is because He has unfinished business here on earth, and we will have a ringside seat. It is possible that we may even be numbered among the armies of [HaShem]. Then, with Yeshua, at the conclusion of these Holy Days, we will return with Him to Israel where He will set up His Kingdom and rule from Jerusalem for one thousand years.

We see that the coming of Yeshua is proclaimed by the blowing of the trumpets, and a great shout, thus the name of Yom Teruah (the Day of the Awakening Blast, the Day of Shouting).

An interesting note here, Yom Teruah as the day of the Last Trumpet. There are three main trumpets in the Biblical festivals: the first trumpet is blown on Shavuot, the last trumpet is blown on Yom Teruah, and the Great Trumpet is blown on Yom Kippur. The month of Elul, for the whole month the trumpet / shofar is blown daily to call men to repentance, and the final call is on Yom Teruah. This trumpet was both a memorial and a rehersal, looking at the time when the dead would rejoin the living in the last day. It is the last trumpet, and this was fully known by Rav Sha’ul, who was a student of Gamaliel and a Pharisee, and used the terminology in reference to what is now termed the Rapture.

There is one other awakening that I wish to share here, that is too often neglected, and it is found in I Corinthians 15:34.

“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

We are to awake to righteousness – although we are made righteous by the new birth, and live “good” lives, this means something more. Often in Scripture living righteously literally means living a Torah Observant lifestyle. As we live according to [HaShem's] instructions, then our peculiarity as
[HaShem's] people become apparent, and when we speak, we are seen as speaking as representatives of [HaShem], as His ambassadors. We are told to sin not, to not violate Torah (Yochanan Alef / I John 3:4). Our actions of righteousness should also lead us to speak righteousness, and thus point men to Yeshua haMashiach, that they might come to a knowledge of [HaShem] through faith in Yeshua. Because we are neglectful in doing this, it brings shame upon us, and denigrates [HaShem's] name.

The reason that Yom Teruah is two days long is also two-fold. One is based upon the sighting of the new moon. If the moon's crescent was not seen on the 30th day, the new moon was automatically celebrated on the 31st day. For this reason Yom Teruah is always celebrated on two days, although it is regarded as one long day of forty-eight hours. The second is that one of its other names is Yom HaKeseh (The Hidden Day). Several times when Yeshua spoke of His return He said, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mattiyahu 25:13), using the Hebraic idiom of the unknown day and hour which is a reference to Yom Teruah / Yom HaKeseh (The Hidden Day). Without the Hebraic understanding of Scripture, it is possible (as the Church has done) to misinterpret this statement, and make it appear as a random time. We can know the season of Mashiach’s return as we see in His references to the days of Noah and of Sodom and Gomorrah . Likewise Rav Sha’ul / Paul tells us in II Thessalonians 2:1 – 5 and I Thessalonians 5:1 – 11.

“1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (II Thessalonians 2:1 – 5)

“1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”

So this Yom Teruah, let us be in remembrance, not only of our deliverance from Egypt , but also of the coming of Yeshua haMashiach, and let us also determine to share this good news with those who do not yet know
- Pastor Rick Taylor zt"l

This image is one by a friend of mine from years back. Definitely worth looking over during this season of High Holy Days.

Image made by Joel Parks

According to Jewish Tradition, All the following happened on Tishrei 1:
Adam and Eve were Created.
The Flood waters dried up.
Enoch was taken by G-d. (Genesis 5:24)
Sarah, Rachel and Samuel (1 Samuel 1) conceived.
Joseph was freed from prison by Pharaoh.
The forced labor of Hebrews in Egypt ended.
Job contracted leprosy.
Start of the sacrifices on the altar built by Ezra. (Ezra 3:1)
- Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce; A Family guide to the Biblical Holidays, ISBN 0970181604

Please also be sure to read up on the Selichot (also here) as this is also an important set of prayers said either in the month of Elul or the 5 days leading up to Rosh Hashanah.

In the Selichot, we tend to meditate on the thirteen attributes of G-d. These thirteen attributes are found in Exodus 34:6-7 and are explained thus:
Ad-nai: Compassion before a person sins
Ad-nai: Compassion after a person sins
El: mighty in compassion to give all creatures according to their needs
Rachum; Merciful, that humankind may not be distressed
Chanum: Gracious if humankind is already in distress
Erech appayim: Slow to anger
Rav Chesed: plenteous in mercy
Emet: Truth
Notzer cheset lalafim: Keeping mercy unto thousands
Noseh avon: forgiving iniquity
Noseh peshah: forgiving transgression
Noseh chatah: forgiving sin
Venakeh: and pardoning

And don't forget TashlichEcc 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Tim Hegg had a very interesting article about Tashlich. I had never heard before this article, that anyone considered that it might be a "pagan addition" (syncretism) to Judaism.  Here is an example of a Tashlich Prayer service 

Hearing the blowing of the shofar is the special mitzvah of Rosh HaShanah. The shofar, a ram's horn, is the oldest wind instrument. And the sounding of the shofar is the most ancient rite in the Rosh HaShanah observances. The primitive and simple sound of the shofar spiritually touches us on this day of soul-searching, repentance and judgment.

Sa'adiah Gaon gives ten reasons for sounding the shofar on Rosh HaShanah.
1. Acknowledges God as Our King
2. Stirs Our Conscience
3. Reminds us of God's revelation at Sinai
4. Reminds us of the Prophets' warnings
5. Reminds us of the destruction of the Temple
6. Reminds us the ram offered by Abraham in place of his son Isaac
7. Reminds us to feel humble before God
8. Reminds us of the Day of Final Judgment
9. Foreshadows proclamation of freedom when exiled will return to Isra'el
10. Foreshadows inauguration of Gods reign of righteousness throughout the world

...Yom haDin – translates as “The Day of Judgment."... This is quite possibly the time period that Dani’el was referring to in Chapter 7, verse 10, of his book. Also the apocalyptic author John made references to books in Revelation 20:12-15.
5. Chevlai shel Mashiach – translated as “the Birthpangs of the Messiah." This final theme associated with Yom T’ruah is a much-repeated one throughout the Torah, especially in the prophets....
Ariel Ben Lyman PDF Version

According to Rav Saadiah Gaon, there are ten primary remembrances for which the shofar is blown on the Festival of Trumpets:

1. The Coronation of the King
2. The Call to Repentance
3. The Giving of the Torah at Sinai
4. Warning of Impending Judgment
5. The Destruction and Future Rebuilding of the Temple
6. The Binding of Isaac
7. Fear of God
8. The Day of Judgment (Yom Kippur)
9. The Ingathering of Israel
10. The Resurrection of the Dead. . .
--Parasha: Rosh Hashanah FFOZ

My Morning Meditatons - New Genesis
First Fruits of Zion is offering free (100+ pages) reading material for Rosh Hashanah here