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Rosh Hashanah And The Jewish New Year~Rhinah Shalom Empty Re: Rosh Hashanah And The Jewish New Year~Rhinah Shalom

Post  Admin on Thu 09 Sep 2010, 11:24 am

Rosh Hashanah - 3
Rosh Hashanah And The Jewish New Year

(Thursday ~ October 9 ~ 5771/2010)

Blowing The Trumpet
In Biblical times, the shofar was used primarily by military commanders and officers, to communicate during wartime. Gideon and his 300 men, each one sounding a shofar, led their enemies to believe that there were 300 commanders, and hence thousands of soldiers. (Judges 7:16-20) The shofar was also used to warn civilians of enemy attack and to mobilize the army. (Amos 3:6)
There were two basic types of 'notes' that the shofar blower used:
1) Te'kiah - a long steady note.
2) Teru'ah - a series of short notes.

The long sound was used to signal an 'all clear' situation, while the short notes warned of imminent danger, like a siren sound today. (Numbers 10:1-10) The Te'kiah was also used to signal a gathering for happy occasions (Numbers 10:3-4,7,10) while the Teru'ah was used to prepare for travel in military formation and war. (Numbers 10:5-6,9)
At the sound Teru'ah, the instinctive reaction would be fear of impending danger. The prophet Zephaniah used the phrase "a day of Shofar and Teru'ah" to describe a day of terrible war and destruction, the "Day of YHVH", in which He will punish all those who left Him.
"At that time I will search Jerusalem with candles and I will punish the men who say to themselves, YHVH does not reward nor does He punish. The great day of YHVH (the Lord) is approaching... It is bitter, there a warrior shrieks. That day shall be a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of calamity and desolation... A day of blowing a shofar." Zephaniah 1:12-16
"Shofar and Teru'ah" implies imminent danger and war, in which God will bring judgement on those who sinned against Him. (Joel 2:1-3,11-17)
"Should a shofar be sounded in the city, would the people not become fearful." Amos 3:6
The Torah instructs us to make Yom Teru'ah on the first day of the seventh month, to simulate the tension and fear of the 'Day of Judgement' and remind ourselves that our lives are truly in God's hands.

Memorial

"When war takes place in your land you should sound an alarm (Teru'ah) with your trumpets, that you will be remembered by (and that you will remember) YHVH, and He will save you from your enemies." Numbers 10:8-9
This special command to sound an alarm in anticipation of impending battle is to show that the battle is in God's Hands and not our own, or the hands of our enemy. It was not the Teru'ah itself, which saved Israel, rather the recognition that the ultimate outcome was in God's hands. Just as the Torah commands us to sound the Teru'ah (alarm) in anticipation of war, so too we are commanded to sound a Teru'ah in anticipation of the forthcoming agricultural year - to remind ourselves that its outcome is in YHVH's Hand as well.
Rosh Hashanah is a day on which we proclaim God's Dominion over all the earth.


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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Sep 2010, 7:48 am

Rosh Hashanah And The Jewish New Year
(Thursday ~ October 9 ~ 5771/2010)

Why are we commanded to observe the agricultural year?

Unlike the land of Egypt, which enjoys a constant supply of water from the Nile River, the Land of Israel is dependent on rain for its water supply. Hence, the farmers must depend on the rainfall for their prosperity and acknowledge that the rain is a direct function of Yahveh's providence.

"It is a Land which your Elohim looks after, YHVH's eyes constantly look after it - from the beginning of the year, Rosh Hashanah, until the end of the year." Deuteronomy 11:12

YHVH (God) assured Israel that He will look after the agricultural needs of the Land by making sure that it will receive the necessary rainfall.

"Should you keep the commandments... then I will give the rain to your land at the proper time... but be careful: Should you transgress... then I will hold back the heavens, and there will be no rain." Deuteronomy 11:13-16

The rain during the eighth and ninth months are the most critical, for the newly sown fields require large amounts of water. If it doesn't rain in the fall, there will be no harvest in the spring and summer. A shortage of rain can lead not only to drought, but also to famine and disease during the summer months. Additionally, food shortage is likely to lead to an outbreak of war between nations fighting over the meager available resources.

Even though it appears that the amount of rain determines Israel's future, we must always acknowledge that it is God, and not "Mother Nature", who determine our fate. In anticipation of the rainy season and its effect on the entire year, the Torah commands Israel to set aside a special gathering in the seventh month, to declare YHVH's dominion over all creation. In doing so, we remind ourselves that our future is in His Hands. (Deuteronomy 11:10-19)

"Acknowledge Him in all your ways." Proverbs 3:6


There are four different holidays on the seventh month:

"Yom Teru'ah" - on the first day.
"Yom Ha'Kippurim" - on the 10th day.
"Succot" - on the 15th day - for seven days.
"Atzeret" (Holy Assembly) - on the 22nd day.

Why are there so many holidays in the seventh month?

The Torah gives us the reason for Succot: It marks the end of the summer fruit harvest. However, no reason is given for the celebration of the other holidays.

Based on the Biblical definition of Succot ~ the end of the year (Exodus 23:16) it would seem more logical to consider the last day of Succot as the first day of the New Year, on which we offer a special prayer for rain. So why does the Torah command us to gather specifically on the first day of the seventh month, before the previous year is over, and make a "Memorial of Blowing Trumpets"? (Leviticus 23:24)

What is the connection between 'sounding the trumpet' and the beginning of the rainy season, and what does 'memorial' imply?


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Post  Admin on Tue 07 Sep 2010, 2:56 pm

Rosh Hashanah And The Jewish New Year

(Thursday ~ October 9 ~ 5771/2010)

Surprisingly, the holiday that we call Rosh Hashanah is never referred to as such in Torah. In fact, the Torah tells us very little about it. How did this holiday become the Jewish New Year that we are so familiar with, and how do we know that this is indeed a 'Day of Judgement'?

The laws of Rosh Hashanah are discussed only twice in the Torah, once in Numbers 23:23-25 and once in Numbers 29:1-6.

1) "On the seventh month, on the first day of that month, you shall have a shabbaton (a day of rest), a day set aside for gathering. Do not work... you shall bring an offering to YHVH." Leviticus 23:23-25

2) "On the seventh month, on the first day of that month, observe a 'holy convocation'. Do no work, it shall be for you a day of blowing the trumpets ~ Yom Teru'ah." Numbers 29:1-6

The Torah never refers to this holiday as "Rosh Hashanah". Instead, we are told to make a holiday on the first day of the seventh month (mid-year rather than new-year), without telling us why this day was chosen, even though we are provided with reasons for all the other holidays.


Two Calendars

In addition to the Biblical year that begins in the spring (Exodus 12:1-2) we find another calendar year in Torah relating to the agricultural cycle of the year. The Torah states that Succot (The feast of Tabernacles) falls at the end of the year.

"Three times a year celebrate for Me... The 'Gathering Holiday', when the year goes out, when you gather your produce from the Land." Exodus 23:14-17

The 'year that goes out' when we gather our fruit is the 'agricultural year', ending when the produce is harvested, and begins when the fields are first sown.

"On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you gather the produce of your Land, you shall observe a Holiday for seven days." Numbers 23:39

Here Succot is described in greater detail with the precise 'lunar' date for this 'gathering' holiday.

From these two scriptures we learn that the Torah teaches that there is an 'agricultural year' which ends in the seventh month (Tishrei). This is confirmed when we examine another agricultural commandment that requires a defined yearly cycle - the laws of the Sabbatical Year. The Torah describes a cycle of six years when we work the land, and the seventh year of rest. (Leviticus 25:1-7) This implies that there is a date when the year of 'rest' begins.

"And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, and then you shall sound a shofar on the seventh month, on the tenth of the month." Leviticus 25:8-9

Here we are told that the year of the Sabbatical cycle begins in the seventh month. The agricultural year begins and ends in the seventh month, with the final harvest and the rainy season.


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