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Bereishit/ Bereishis (Part 2)

Bereishit/ Bereishis (Part 2)

Tishrei—In the Beginning

Gen. 1:1-6:8

 Is. 42:5-43:10 (Haftarah)

 

Welcome back to Bereishit/Bereishis. If you haven’t read Bereishit Part 1, you can click here.

We will look for the connections of the four rivers and learn its significance to the Creation Story. As we recall, Bereishit/ Bereishis means “In the Beginning.” So in the beginning, there were events that were very substantial: The Creation of the heavens and the earth, Adam and Eve, the first sins, and the first argument with Kain and Abel over the appointed times, curses, and their consequences.

We will focus on the four rivers:

Draw near to Me and hear this: From the beginning, I did not speak in secret; From the time anything existed, I was there. “And now the Lord G-d has sent me, endowed with His spirit.” Thus said the LORD your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: I the LORD am your G-d, Instructing you for your own benefit. Guiding you in the way you should go. If only you would heed My commands! Then your prosperity would be like a river, Your triumph like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:16-18)[1]

Hashem has warned us to heed His Torah, keep His Festivals, as they are His Will. Hashem said if we love Him, to keep His Mitzvoth (commandments). The Torah is Light. Hashem is our Redeemer and G-d. We need to pay very close attention to obey His commandments so that our well-being would flow like a river…

The seven days of Creation were set in patterns. These patterns have chiastic connections as well as contranyms (at their opposite). G-d is a G-d of order. In other words, the events during Creation, Adam and Eve (Chavah), Kain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, as well as others, were established with a purpose—not randomly.

Hashem’s appointed times are known as calendar dates Hashem established; connecting the fourth day of creation: sun, moon, and stars that governs our days and nights. Those seasons are also the (3) pilgrimages: Pesach , Shavuot, and Sukkot .

Kain and Abel brought their offerings to Hashem at Sukkot, but Kain’s did not meet the criteria and fell short because his offering wasn’t his firstfruits, just fruits. Kain didn’t give his best to Elokim, just the leftovers. We, too, are to give Hashem our best offerings. Our offerings to Hashem are from what comes from our heart and lips since we don’t have our third Temple, yet. From the mouth speaks the heart.

Eden’s primary river isn’t mentioned by Name, Hashem is the source of life in water, as well as the Tree of Life.

If we look at a rainbow photo from NASA, we see a rainbow is circular. The Biblical Festivals start back to the beginning from the end. The Garden had four rivers with a main source giving direction. The essence of the four rivers is to increase and burst forth with fruit. This includes the seasons of chag: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, which also are the firstfruits offerings. The River in the Garden also gave off a mist that controled the climate and atmosphere for the Garden. Because it is a carbon-based earth, it makes it the perfect environment for trees, plants, all living creatures, including man. This plan was not only perfect, but very soothing for the man’s souls and spirit and a body made from dirt. It was also a dwelling for the Father to communicate with man. This was the plan for man to exist within the boundaries established in which man and G-d could fellowship together.

What is fascinating is the chiastic Menorah’s description that not only applies to the  Spirits of G-d (Isaiah 11:2-3) , seven Festivals, with the seven days of Creation, but it includes the branches of the four rivers that all flow from the same source—The Garden of Eden.

Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created. When the LORD G-d made earth and heaven— when no shrub of the field was yet on earth and no grasses of the field had yet sprouted, because the LORD G-d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the soil, but a flow would well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth— the LORD G-d formed man from the dust of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. The LORD G-d planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and placed there the man whom He had formed. And from the ground the LORD G-d caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad. A river issues from Eden to water the garden, and it then divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon, the one that winds through the whole land of Havilah, where the gold is. (The gold of that land is good; bdellium is there, and lapis lazuli.) The name of the second river is Gihon, the one that winds through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, the one that flows east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The LORD G-d took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it.” (Genesis 2:4-15)[2]

The river flowed out of Eden to water the Garden. The head of the river divides into four rivers. Pishon and Gihon have recurring qualities that return, circular. Hashem’s Festivals always return on the calendar, and like good gold, and precious stones, we too shall thirst for Torah, and become refined.

Rivers of Eden

As you view the Menorah, you’ll be able to see the 4 Rivers.

EUPHRATES/PERAT   is the middle branch, which is the furthest boundary of Israel; yet, the fruit of it is being the Great River. The middle branch feeds out to the others.

“I will set your borders from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of Philistia, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out before you.” (Exodus 23:31)[3]

Even though there isn’t a description of its movement, it is still synonymous with Shavuot and it corresponds with Sukkot. The chagim (3 pilgrimages) are all first-fruit offerings. Shavuot is first-fruits of wheat. This represents the Ruach ha’Kodesh, which is located on the fourth menorah candlestick—Center!

“The Euphrates River is later mentioned in G‑d’s promise to Abraham regarding the Land of Israel, and is used as one of the defining borders of the Promised Land. We are also told that there was a time when Jewish civilization had spread so far that members of the tribe of Reuben were living all the way to the banks of the Euphrates!”[4]

PISHON

Pishon means to increase. Looking at the menorah of the four rivers provided, you will notice that the Pishon River “heads” or divides into the 1st and the 7th branches. The movement of the Pishon River is surrounding (savav), and is thought to represent the Nile.

The plagues and the Nile originated during the Exodus Passover. Looking at the menorah provided, on the far left branch (branch one) it is also Passover (first festival) which is Israel’s account to have increase. Just like in Creation when Elokim separated the light from the darkness, Goshen was separated from the darkness that was sent to Egypt. The more the Egyptians afflicted the Israelites, the more the Israelites increased in number; which was concerning to the Pharaoh! The increase of the Pishon River and the increase of the Israelites (Plagues of the Nile) do parallel concisely.

Now, let’s look at the seventh branch (far one to the right—last one). The 7th branch is also the Sukkot. Sukkot is celebrated in remembrance of the Passover—a chiastic connection! This also represents Wisdom/Chokmah and Reverence of Hashem.We know there are seven days in creation, seven Spirits of Hashem, seven Festivals that are appointed times to gather with Hashem. So let’s try and place the dot-to-dots on this.

 

One will begin on the far left branch; working its way over to the last branch on the far right of the Menorah.

  1. Spirit of Wisdom (Chokmah)/PesachLight & Darkness
  2. Spirit of Understanding (Binah)/ Unleavened Bread(Chag HaMatzah)/ Upper and Lower Waters
  3. Spirit of Counsel (Etzah)/First fruits of Barley(Yom HaBikkurim)/Earth, Fruit, Seed, plants
  4. Ruach/ Shavuot/Sun, moon, stars
  5. Spirit of Power (Gvurah)/ Rosh Hashanah/ Birds and Fish
  6. Spirit of Knowledge (Daat)/ Day of Atonement (Yom Hakippurim)/ Beast and Man
  7. Spirit of Reverence/Fear (Yirat Adonai)/ Sukkot/ Sabbath (Shabbat/ Shabbos)

Please don’t let this overwhelm you! It takes time for it to soak into our thoughts. We all have been programmed to just surface read; scratching the surface. Torah is much deeper than just surface reading. I don’t know of you like onions, or not, but imagine one in front of you. I will imagine the red onion—yummy, sweet with a kick. One can cut that onion easily enough in half. But if you take the onion and begin to peel off each layer, one layer at a time, you’re going to be there awhile soaking up its juices. Learning Torah are layers upon layers. In other words, the more we study Torah, the more we will have a better understanding on a deeper level in Hashem’s Presence.

OK, before I trail off too far, let’s get back to the Four Rivers!

 

GICHON

Gichon divides into the second and sixth branch, described as bursting forth. To draw forth as to give birth. On the second branch, there is Binah, which means to build (Understanding), Chag Hamatzah (Unleavened Bread) chiastically connects to the sixth branch of Da’at which means knowledge, Yom HaKippurium (Day of Atonement).

Song of Solomon 6:10

On Yom Kippur, which is the sixth day, the High Priest is anointed just as King Solomon (builder/Ruach Binah) of the first temple. The anointing was at Gihon—another connection!

CHIDEKKEL

Chidekkel (noisy, rapid, roaring, Tigris). This will be a division into the third and fifth branches of the Menorah.

The Hebrew word, halakha, means “walks” or “goes” in a movement.

Connections:

  • Fifth day of Creation-birds and fish moved rapidly.
  • Fifth festival, Rosh Hashanah, blowing the shofar that is very noisy!
  • First Fruits of Barley.
  • Etzah (Spirit of Counsel) and Gvurah (Power).

The main river came from the Throne itself, giving nourishment to the Garden of Eden. Adam was in charge of moving the water, but he was not the creator of the water. Adam was able to freely irrigate the garden, trees included. He was given charge over the care and keep of the Garden. Adam’s physical and spiritual strength soon came to a weakened area after he sinned. After the fall, cultivating the soil became a lot harder- breaking sweat; fighting weeds.

Since Adam was placed in the Garden after he was created, we need to remember that it was Elokim Who caused the trees and plant life to grow. Adam was Hashem’s partner; having the reward of the Ruach ha’ Kodesh.

Hashem is the source of this nourishment– Water. He sustains life, and we, as His servants, are happy to help (good deeds). Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are the rivers that give nourishment/drink in order to provide that water to “Good Gold” and “Precious Stones.” In other words, humans were created to walk through this water—Eden’s Four Rivers.

BDELLIUM

When the Israelites were in the wilderness with Moses for 40 years, Hashem sustained their needs. For example, their leather shoes and clothing lasted as the material never wore out. For forty years the Father provided and gave them Manna for their daily food. The manna was a miracle that happened every six days. On the sixth day, they would gather a double portion to have rest on the seventh day. Manna was not given on the seventh day so they had to plan accordingly.

“The house of Israel named it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers in honey.” (Exodus 16:31)[5]

The appearance of manna resembled Bdellium, which was a precious stone that was encircled in the land of Havilah of the Pishon River. The seventh river, Pishon, boarders the land of Havilah where the bedolach was. Sabbath is identified with set apart– holy.

I think it is fascinating that the connection of bdellium is found to sparkle and glisten like a rainbow-crystal clear, and Manna was sparkly; wet clear dew for the Israelites! The dew would have glistened in the sunlight, refracting the prism of the rainbow. Moreover, if you take the menorah and tip it upside down, you’ll see a rainbow. It also looks like a bow and arrow readily to hit the mark—to be on target –Torah. Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful message given to us from our Father directly from the Throne of Glory?!

A psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah. God, You are my God; I search for You, my soul thirsts for You, my body yearns for You, as a parched and thirsty land that has no water. I shall behold You in the sanctuary, and see Your might and glory.” (Psalms 63:1-3)[6]

The Onyx Stone

The Onyx is another precious stone of Havilah which appears black, but’s contranym (opposite of itself) is likely a whitening process. Shoham, Hebrew word for onyx appears to mean “ to blanch.” This would be the idea of making something holy by whitening. The priests of the Temple wore white linen garments. The linen was made of shesh.

Shen is one of the Hebrew letters in their alphabet. Shen means teeth. In Hebrew, the Shesh is spelled with (2) shens, which literally places the whiteness of the linen, and it also has a fiery connotation with the number six. If you look back to the menorah, or day six of Creation, you’ll soon recognize that on day six was the day that beast and man were created.

The 12 stones represent the 12 tribes of Israel. The shoham stones were connected to the breastplate (choshen) upon the priest’s shoulder using gold chains.

“For a child has been born to us, A son has been given us. And authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty G-d is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler.” (Isaiah 9:5)[7]

When we surface read, as taught in Western/ Greek cultures, we miss so much! It is exciting to have the true understanding of Torah. I can only hope we are able to peel back those onion layers to really get into the depth of Hashem’s precious word.

Conclusion

Hashem is the Aleph and the Tav. He is the beginning and the end; which of course after the seventh day (completeness), the eighth day is a new beginning—full circle!

He is our Creator, we are His creation. The main river came from the Throne of Glory, giving nourishment to the Garden of Eden.

Adam was in charge of moving the water, but he was not the creator of the water. Adam was able to freely irrigate the garden, trees included. Hashem is the source of this nourishment- Hashem’s River of Life. He sustains life, and as His servants, we should rejoice as He is our Rock of Salvation! Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot are the rivers that give nourishment/drink in order to provide that water to “Good Gold” and “Precious Stones.”

The Four Rivers came from the Thorne of Glory, pouring into into Gan Eden! Hashem is our Life Source.

Shalom!

 

[1] Isaiah 48:16-18, Sefaria

[2] Genesis 2:4-15, Sefaria

[3] Exodus 23:31, Sefaria

[4] https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3082157/jewish/Where-Are-the-Four-Rivers-that-Come-from-Eden.htm

[5] Exodus 16:31, Sefaria

[6] Psalms 63:1-3, Sefaria

[7] Isaiah 9:5, Sefaria

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Sukkot

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Sukkot

Say to the Israelite people: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths to the LORD, [to last] seven days.”(Leviticus 23:24)[1]

Tishrei fifteen to twenty-one is celebrated for the “Season of Joy.” After completing the sobering Fast of Yom Kippur (self-evaluation and teshuvah), we celebrate the love and provisions G-d has given us. According to Leviticus 23:40 and Deuteronomy 16:14, we are commanded to be happy and rejoice in Hashem. Imagine that, the Creator of the universe and the Highest King wants to celebrate with His people. Instead of complaining, we rejoice and eat yummy kosher foods! Those with a willing and contrite heart were to bring their offerings to Hashem. It is a joyful act to the giver, as well as to the receiver-happiness. It is also a loving way to rejoice in all of Hashem’s provisions He has given.

Sukkot is an ingathering of raising up tents or booths; praising Hashem for delivering us out of the land of Egypt; knowing G-d completed everything. They were to tell their children for all generations to always remember that Elokim is their/our G-d. It is a celebration of resting in Hashem; remembering and praising Hashem for delivering the Israelites, and the mixed-multitude, out of the Egyptian’s hands (slavery) of four hundred and thirty years.

Sukkot is also one of the three appointed times known as “Pilgrimages.” The three pilgrimages are: Passover (Pesach), Shavuot, and Sukkot, as referenced in Deuteronomy 16:16. These appointed times, along with Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzah), First Fruits of Barley (Ha Bikkutium), Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur are the festivals of Hashem.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Say to the Israelite people: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month there shall be the Feast of Booths to the LORD, [to last] seven days. The first day shall be a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations; seven days you shall bring offerings by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall observe a sacred occasion and bring an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a solemn gathering: you shall not work at your occupations. Those are the set times of the LORD that you shall celebrate as sacred occasions, bringing offerings by fire to the LORD—burnt offerings, meal offerings, sacrifices, and libations, on each day what is proper to it— apart from the sabbaths of the LORD, and apart from your gifts and from all your votive offerings and from all your freewill offerings that you give to the LORD. Mark, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the yield of your land, you shall observe the festival of the LORD [to last] seven days: a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your G-d seven days. You shall observe it as a festival of the LORD for seven days in the year; you shall observe it in the seventh month as a law for all time, throughout the ages. You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the LORD your G-d. So Moses declared to the Israelites the set times of the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:33-44) [2]

Also read:

And Moses instructed them as follows: Every seventh year, the year set for remission, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your G-d in the place that He will choose, you shall read this Teaching aloud in the presence of all Israel. Gather the people—men, women, children, and the strangers in your communities—that they may hear and so learn to revere the LORD your G-d and to observe faithfully every word of this Teaching. Their children, too, who have not had the experience, shall hear and learn to revere the LORD your G-d as long as they live in the land that you are about to cross the Jordan to possess. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)[3]

Sukkot is the last fall festival. It is also called Booths. On the seventh day of creation, Adam and Chavah were to rest. As you remember, they were created last on Day Six. Many ask why they had to rest when they didn’t even work the garden for a week. It wasn’t anything they did or didn’t do to earn that rest.

The Sabbath/Shabbat/Shabbos was blessed, sanctified, and made Holy. It is a remembrance that everything is completed in Elokim. There isn’t anything we can do to improve what Hashem has already done.

During Sukkot, the priests were divided into three groups. One group was in charge of the offerings and sacrifices. The second group was responsible for drawing water for pouring ceremony. Then there was the third group who would cut the required amount of willows; located from the brook. The High Priest went from the Water Gate, located at the South Gate that went downward to the Siloam pool. A golden vase was used to draw up water from the pool by the priest. During the ceremony, a silver vase would be filled with wine by the High Priest to be carried by the High Priest as the head in the procession line; leading the way to the Temple. From the eastern gate, the Beautiful Gate, the large willows were cut. As they journeyed back from Motzah Valley, the processions line of people sang beautiful praises to G-d. The willows carried were swishing from side to side; creating a sound of a rushing wind (Ruach), and the pilgrims waved their “lulavs” (myrtle, willow, etrog, and palm branch). The first group, a choir of the Levites sang the same songs as the people from Psalms 118:25—The Hallel

“Hosanna, save now!” The branches would be beaten harshly against the altar. The priests would stand in procession thirty feet apart, take one step, wave the willow, and take another step. The waving of the willows created a wind represents the Ruach. The waving during the purposeful steps continued in this fashion all the way up to the temple. As the two groups converged on the temple, another priest stood on the southeast corner of the temple wall and played the flute calling them into the temple. Since the flute was the pierced instrument, he was called the pierced one.

“The LORD is my strength and might; He has become my deliverance. The tents of the victorious resound with joyous shouts of deliverance, “The right hand of the LORD is triumphant!” (Psalms 118:14-15)[4]

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD. They said: I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; Horse and driver He has hurled into the sea. The LORD is my strength and might; He is become my deliverance. This is my G-d and I will enshrine Him; The G-d of my father, and I will exalt Him.” (Exodus 15:1-2)[5]

It’s so amazing what Hashem has set before us in the Torah. Hashem desires and longs for us to dwell with Him. There is a very important connection with Pesach and Sukkot that brings them together on a whole new level, chiastically. Passover is the first gathering, Sukkot is the last (bookends), the seventh gathering. On the seven-branch menorah, the first branch and the seventh branch are joined together—a pattern. We have a beginning (Pesach) with its completion (Sukkot), number seven completes. However, when we get to the end, we are back at the beginning—spherical—never-ending. If we were to look at NASA photographs of Rainbows, we’d soon discover they are complete circular formations. No beginning and no end.

Let’s take a closer look that may help bridge the gap for understanding:

Pesach represents the beginning of their (Israelites) first night of freedom, out of Exodus. They had food and shelter provided. Shavuot commemorates the receiving of the Torah, and a covenant given. Sukkot is the last holiday. What we have is freedom to be in covenant with Hashem with His Divine protection—a marriage! It is an Eternal marriage covenant of the Bride, and the Bridegroom.

 

During Sukkot, the children dwelt in booths when Elokim brought them out of Egypt. Looking back, we can understand how we, too, are included. As they slept in booths, He brought them/us out the first night. The Book of Exodus tells us they journeyed to a place called Sukkot on the first night, which commemorates the place called Sukkot. The Talmud speaks of the covering of the cloud—The Clouds of Glory. A pillar of cloud is our protection!

Genesis reminds us that Jacob left Laban’s house and the first night he slept, he built booths for his cattle—sukkahs. Like Jacob, he left a form of slavery under Laban and had lots of cattle. The Torah states an accounting of four hundred and thirty years that the Israelites endured slavery in Egypt. Before Elokim delivered them out of Egypt they had a “settling down.” In Egypt, they had shelter, a home, and they knew when their next meal was. After they left to go to Sukkot everything changed. They had no plans or knew what to expect. They had to learn how to trust G-d. They had their own choices, yes, but not wise discernment. Exodus tells us they ate unleavened bread as they had no time to take provisions. They had Matzah—this connects Pesach! ONE NIGHT—TWO Holidays (Pesach and Sukkot).

The first night they realized they were no longer slaves of Egypt while sleeping under their Booths. The act of faith brings us to a new level—trusting G-d for everything! He saw the efforts they made to follow Hashem, and His kind response stirred to give the Children safe protection and provisions. Sukkot teaches us that Hashem is our true Provider, and His covering is for our Shelter to dwell in. The Children of Israel lived in “booths” for forty years [in the wilderness] with high temperatures. G-d provided a cloud covering, water, and manna. Their sandals and clothing never wore out.

Sukkot is a seven-day celebration, and the eighth day is a High Sabbath, as is the first day. The number eight implies a type of “New Beginnings. The Orthodox Jews observe the first two days and the last two days of Sukkot, followed by Hoshanah Rabbah, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah. We are to observe Hashem’s festivals by building a Sukkah and waving the Four Kinds.

Hoshanah Rabbah is celebrated on the seventh day of Sukkot. Hoshanah Rabbah completes the seven-day festival of Sukkot (but there’s the eighth day), and the completion of the days of Judgment finalizes our fate for the following year. The days are issued during Rosh Hashanah and completed [for us] on Yom Kippur. One might say our fate is now sealed for what is determined the following year. During Sukkot, there is a judgment on the amount of rain that’ll be given during the next year. (Talmud “Rosh HaShanah” 16a)

Hashem is calling for us:

“To be sure, they seek Me daily, Eager to learn My ways. Like a nation that does what is right, That has not abandoned the laws of its G-d, They ask Me for the right way, They are eager for the nearness of G-d.” (Isaiah 58:2)[6]

We are to take the “willow” as if this was a willow ceremony dated back to the Ancient Bible times when our prophets took an additional willow on Sukkot on the seventh day. They were very large willow branches (eighteen feet each) and were set around the altar in the Holy Temple for Sukkot every day. The “Four Kinds” were included in the ancient ceremony.

During the synagogue services on Hoshanah Rabbah, the people who stand around the bimah (Torah reading table) hold the Torah after it’s taken from the Ark. The congregation circles the Torah seven times while holding on to their Four Kinds; reciting the Hoshaanot prayers. The ones who circle seven times conclude with gathering the bundle of the five willows; striking the ground five times symbolizes our sins. No matter how hard we beat the lulav on the ground to remove its leaves, it isn’t easy to do. This is symbolic to our sins and how hard it can be to remove our sins without G-d’s help. There’s a huge mess left. This reminds us how much we need our Hashem to remove our sins. Everyone (men, women, and children) are encouraged to participate in the celebration. In the synagogues, the whole Book of Deuteronomy and Psalms are read (at midnight), followed with more prayers. After services, they continue to celebrate with a festive dinner in their sukkahs with honey cake for dessert. Because of Diaspora, eating in the sukkah includes the eighth day—Shemini Atzeret.

Shemini Atzeret is a joyous time celebrating the end of Sukkot in diaspora (exiled lands). Shemini Atzeret is known by its Biblical name in the Tanach. (Leviticus 23:33-44, 2 Chronicles 7) Though we still dwell in our sukkah, the first night has no blessing. It’s a memorial for the departed souls. The prayer, Yizkor is said the first night. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated on the eighth day. It is customary to light a small “yahrtzeit” candle while reciting the Yizkor on Shemini Atzeret to pray for our deceased parent(s).

The blessings are given as the annual Torah readings to commemorate Sukkot. The first two nights are both celebrated with the lighting of the candles (women and girls light the candles), reciting the appropriate blessings (Kiddush), festive meals, dancing, and by not working. It is permissible to cook as long as it’s not on the Shabbat. Simchat Torah celebrates the conclusion and the restart of the Torah readings that goes back to Genesis—the rolling back of the Torah. The combination of the two days (Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah) is called “YOM TOV”—a major holiday when most work ceases. The Shemini Atzeret prayer commemorates the rain Hashem sends to Israel, and the Yizkor prayer gives thanks and praise to Hashem for His mercy to remember the souls departed. The highlight of Simchat Torah reminds us to have “Joy of the Torah!” Remember to light the candles before sunset on the first night, and just after sunset the second night. The ninth day is finished with Havdalah.

Simchat Torah, during the celebration, Synagogues bring out the Torah as it’s held in dance, marching, and song. It is customary for every man to participate in the celebration and to Aliyah. There are two definitions for Aliyah. One, the honor of being called up to recite one of the blessings over the Torah, and the other is immigration to the Land of Israel. It is an honor for every man to be called up to read the blessings of the Torah. The children are also encouraged to Aliyah—give blessings over the Torah.

While living in exile, a synagogue may not be possible to attend depending on the location one resides at. Hashem honors those who do their best at home; blessing Hashem, his wife and children, taking part in the Readings of Torah, home service (meeting with like kind) and study. Hopefully, there is a way to move into a Jewish community. There are many who live in exile wait for the call of Hashem to Aliyah to Israel.

The Sukkah (booths): Let’s celebrate the amazing miracle of the Exodus remembering our faithful and Righteous G-d who delivered the Israelites, and the mixed multitude, from the harsh and crushing slavery of the Egypt! The sukkah (booths) celebrates the Clouds of Glory that protected and surrounded our ancestors during the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness; completely relying on G-d’s provisions leaving Egypt.

(Leviticus 23:42-43) Jews, and non-Jews, build sukkahs that are temporary dwellings to commemorate Sukkot. Sukkot is celebrated by eating and sleeping in a sukkah during the week of Sukkot. Many live in colder regions in which it may not be possible to sleep or eat in a sukkah. It’s important to remember that if one can’t build a sukkah (perhaps it’s against rental/leased homes policies, or health reasons), Hashem will be honored to see us trying our best to please Him during the appointed times.

In the Sukkah, we can read from our holy scriptures, share devotionals, and invite guests (Ushpizin) for a meal. The gathering of people will give more opportunities to share what an amazing G-d we have. If there are children or adults who have special needs, or elderly parents with health issues that would cause suffering to sleep outside on the ground, there are other ways to show chesed—loving-kindness. For example, we can play beautiful Hebrew music, tell the Exodus Story, and help them build mini sukkahs—to eat! That’s right! All one needs is a box of Graham crackers, M&M’s (trademark), or other colorful candies, green frosting, and a whole lot of fun! Place three squares together; using frosting for the glue. Spread green frosting along the top (roof) and let the decorating begin!

The Sukkah is generally made of wood or bamboo with at least three sides. The roof should have some clearing that allow the stars to be seen during the nights. Palm leaves, or other greenery can be placed along the top that allows some coverage and shade during the day.

If a kosher sukkah is desired: There are important factors to be considered before building a kosher sukkah (Instructions can be found at http://www.chabad.org).

May your week of Sukkot be a blessing!

Shalom!

[1] Leviticus 23:24. Sefaria

[2] Leviticus 23:22-44, Sefaria

[3] Deuteronomy 31:10-13, Sefaria

[4] Psalms 118:14-15, Sefaria

[5] Exodus 15:1-2, Sefaria

[6] Isaiah 58:2, Sefaria

 

 

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Yom Kippur- Day of Atonement

yom-kippur-verse-290

Yom HaKippurim/Yom Kippur

~Day of Atonement~

 

On the tenth day of the same seventh month you shall observe a sacred occasion when you shall practice self-denial. You shall do no work. (Numbers 29:7)[1]

Mark the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: you shall practice self-denial, and you shall bring an offering by fire to the LORD; you shall do no work throughout that day. For it is a Day of Atonement, on which expiation is made on your behalf before the LORD your G-d. Indeed, any person who does not practice self-denial throughout that day shall be cut off from his kin; and whoever does any work throughout that day, I will cause that person to perish from among his people. Do no work whatever; it is a law for all time, throughout the ages in all your settlements. It shall be a sabbath of complete rest for you, and you shall practice self-denial; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall observe this your sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:27-32)[2]

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is a High Holy Sabbath, the holiest day of the year. It occurs on Tishrei Ten (September/October). It is a day of humbling ourselves before our Holy G-d. Yom Kippur is also referred to as Yom Hakippurim that means “day like Purim.” The Book of Esther is the story of redemption. The term Yom Kippur derives from “Yom” which means day and “Kaphar/Kofer” which means to atone for as in covering, protection, redemption, and ransom. Kaphar/Kofer (pitch) was used on Noah’s Ark as a covering to keep the water from seeping in. Pitch was also used on the basket (little ark) that Moses floated in down the Nile among the reeds—another connection. Kaphar/Kofer was the pitch used to not only cover, but to conceal and keep it protected from damage and leaks. This teaches us that the sacrifices on Yom Kippur atone for by covering, protecting, and concealing Israel for another year. The Day of Atonement was a day of grace and compassion. Hashem would give the Israelites a “New Beginning” as a covering for their sins.

This is the sixth festival of the appointed times. It is the last day of Teshuvah, a beautiful time for people to draw nearer to G-d in repentance. We celebrate in humbleness with fasting for twenty-five hours. (Leviticus 23:27-28) People generally dress in white on this day to resemble purity.

There are seven festivals, and Yom Kippur is the sixth holiday. At the concluding season of repentance, Elul One begins on the first of the sixth month. It is the only day the High Priest was permitted to enter into the Holy of Holies; encountering Hashem face-to-face by calling upon The Name–HASHEM. The High Priest would make blood sacrifices for the sins of the people. A bull and two goats were offered for the atonement. The bull would be the atonement for the Mishkan; while the two goats would be chosen by drawing lots which one would carry away the sins of the people. (Leviticus 16)

L’Adonai would be offered to the Hashem, and the other goat, Azazel, would have the sins of the people confessed (through the laying of the hands from the High Priest) upon that goat and carried away into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21) If G-d accepted the sacrifices and atonement from the High Priest, the bloody garments that were hung up turned white, according to tradition. We are reminded if our sins are like scarlet; they will be white as snow through forgiveness. (Isaiah 1:18) This is the day we will see Hashem face-to-face; prophetically on a future Day of Atonement.

The Heavenly doors are opened during this ten day period; however, the doors will be closed on Yom Kippur as Yom Kippur is Judgment. The “Ten Days of Awe” is the time to reflect on ourselves for teshuvah. The Day of Judgment will be the day that atonement is executed. Do we look at it as a big judge in a courtroom wearing a long, over-sized black robe; ready to pass the death penalty on us? Or would we look at it as a day of rejoicing and praising Hashem for His redemption? We can find joy knowing that we are Hashem’s Chosen people—signed—sealed—and delivered!

Beast and man were created on Day Six. When Adam and Eve (Chavah) sinned, they needed atonement, the sixth feast. The sixth spirit is Knowledge, or “Da’at”. This isn’t head knowledge; rather it implies intimacy and maturity in Hebrew. It is a type of knowledge or knowing that loves something or someone enough that they will give their life for the other. When a man neglects the Knowledge, his fallen state becomes more extreme and he identifies more with the beast he hunts. The Spirit of Knowledge patiently works and builds understanding in the relationship. The Spirit of Knowledge is a deep mature love that exhibits the awareness of the needs and desires of another. It is a spirit that moved on the sixth day of creation to inspire the creation of Adam & Chavah (Eve)—the mother of all living.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew letter “VAV” is also the number six (in Hebrew), and means to attach. When man sinned, they could no longer continue living in the Garden, nor could they dwell with the Father as sin separated them. Through the mercy of Hashem, He will bring our redemption.

As we mature and grow in Torah, we can abide in:

✡ Mercy and Grace (A husband should protect his bride)

✡ Covering of sins (Hashem brings redemption, compassion, covering)

✡ Healing (loving one another with loving kindness)

✡ Restoration of relationships (restoration)

✡ Repents & seeks forgiveness

Hashem has established the perfect plan for us to come back through His Love and Mercy.

Hashem has established the perfect plan for us to come back through His Love and Mercy

Let’s look at the Story of Jonah for some more connections. Let’s consider Jonah’s actions when disobedience comes into play.

Yonah was called by Hashem to go to Nineveh with a message from G-d to repent from their sins or they would be destroyed. But he ran away to Tarshish, instead. Why did Jonah run from Hashem? Can anyone really hide from the King of the universe?

When Jonah knew Hashem was giving Nineveh a chance to be forgiven, life no longer mattered to Jonah. He wanted them to pay for their evilness. Jonah was the son of Amittai (Truth). Yonah saw his dreadful journey coming true after Hashem told him to go to Nineveh and accept their apology.

Looking back at the story while Jonah was on the ship, he was on the lowest level; sleeping in the height of the storm. Jonah ignored Hashem when He called out to him. The sailors cast lots. He told them to throw him overboard. He didn’t know Hashem had a whale ready for action. After the sailors tried to help Jonah, they threw him overboard, regretfully. While he was in the belly of the whale, Yonah still wanted to die, but Hashem had different plans.

Jonah’s Prayer of Distress:

The LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah; and Jonah remained in the fish’s belly three days and three nights. Jonah prayed to the LORD his G-d from the belly of the fish. He said: In my trouble I called to the LORD, And He answered me; From the belly of Sheol I cried out, And You heard my voice. You cast me into the depths, Into the heart of the sea, The floods engulfed me; All Your breakers and billows Swept over me. I thought I was driven away Out of Your sight: Would I ever gaze again Upon Your holy Temple? The waters closed in over me, The deep engulfed me. Weeds twined around my head. I sank to the base of the mountains; The bars of the earth closed upon me forever. Yet You brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my G-d! When my life was ebbing away, I called the LORD to mind; And my prayer came before You, Into Your holy Temple. They who cling to empty folly Forsake their own welfare, But I, with loud thanksgiving, Will sacrifice to You; What I have vowed I will perform. Deliverance is the LORD’s! The LORD commanded the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon dry land.” (Jonah 2, Sefaria)

While Jonah was in the belly of the whale he thought he would never see dry land again. He was in the whales belly for three days and three nights. After Jonah delivered the message, Nineveh repented and Hashem relented the ra’ah (evil) that would have destroyed them with Hashem’s burning wrath. Jonah, in his disappointment and anger, prayed for Hashem to take his soul because it would have been better for his death than to have lived. (Jonah 4:8) Hashem remained quiet and gave him a lesson with the worm instead.

Yonah (Jonah) sat up on the hill; overlooking the city of Nineveh in hopes Nineveh refused to repent so that Hashem would destroy them (Nineveh would probably be what ISIS is like in today’s world). He made himself a Sukkah (booth/tent) to sit under for shade. The question is, if Yonah had shade already, why did Hashem place a kikayon plant over (covering) Jonah’s sukkah? Ra’ah was first mentioned when Hashem wanted to send Yonah to Nineveh because they had done evil (ra’ah) in the sight of Hashem and were going to be destroyed. They made a teshuvah! Elokim relented the ra’ah He was going to place on Nineveh. It’s interesting how the role of events play out when Yonah (Jonah) felt a dreadful ra’ah coming his way and he needed Hashem’s protection. Yonah became very angry towards Hashem because he already knew that Hashem would change His mind, which only partially answers why Jonah ran from Hashem. The Book of Jonah states, “I knew that you are a gracious and merciful G-d, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and relent from doing harm.”(Jonah 4:2)[3]

Hashem revealed His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy to Mosheh (Moses) on Mount Sinai after the sin of the golden calf. It was Hashem’s grace and mercy that saved the Jews and mixed-multitude from destruction. Looking back in the Book of Jonah, it is revealed that Jonah’s father’s name is Amittai (root word is Emet, truth), son of Truth. Was Jonah looking for Divine Justice on Nineveh? Go back to Jonah sitting in his sukkah and the plant created for extra shade (covering) even though he knew that Elokim had spared Nineveh. Yonah found great joy in the plant that provided shade over his head. He felt loved. Then the worm ate the roots of the plant, and when the plant faded and died, Yonah (Jonah) once again wanted to die; stating that he was “grieved to death.” (Jonah 4:9, Stone Edition, Tanach) Why was Yonah upset over the plant dying? What did the plant represent?

The plant demonstrated Hashem’s lovingkindness and mercy given so that Jonah could see His Compassion. So if the plant giving shade is the countenance of Hashem’s compassion, what is the face of the worm? Justice.

Hashem was trying to show Jonah that there’s a conflict between having compassion, and applying justice. Jonah needed to learn G-d is a G-d of Mercy—Forgiveness given undeserved. Hashem caused a plant to grow from nothing in a world it didn’t belong, and Jonah had compassion for it.

Nineveh belonged in the world—G-d’s creation; yet, Jonah wanted them to be destroyed without mercy. Nineveh was very evil indeed, but because they had Teshuvah, who didn’t deserve Hashem’s compassion and forgiveness, we can appreciate what we can become with a changed heart! Yes, their sins were forgiven. They couldn’t change their past actions, but they could change their future. We are also given that same opportunity because He loves us. Our heart defines our character when others (who have hurt us) need forgiveness.

As we enter Yom Kippur we need to acknowledge that even though we can’t change our past we can reflect on our past, and reevaluate our impending changes for the future; giving all Glory to Hashem. We need to seek Hashem for forgiveness (Teshuvah) for our sins, ask Him to help us have Chesed (loving kindness) for others, to be forgiving of others (even if they don’t deserve it), to honor Torah, and to follow G-d’s way.

When we love Hashem’s Creation, we can nurture it, have unity, and restore healing.

“Remember us for the sake of Life, A King Who desires Life, Inscribe us in the Book of Life For Your sake O’ G-d of Life. Who is like You O’ Father of compassion, Who remembers his creatures for Life with compassion.”

How to observe Yom Kippur:

  • Self-reflection—acknowledge your sins
  • Fast for twenty-five hours—drink plenty of water the day before.
  • Tashlich ceremony—a beautiful tradition for family to go out to a body of moving water such as a stream or river and toss in bread crumbs, or tiny rocks, if it’s not on the Sabbath. This is done on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, but can be celebrated during Yom Kippur. This reminds us of G-d’s forgiveness by casting our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
  • Teshuvah (Repentance)—Seek Hashem for the forgiveness of sins. There are also five prayers that are recited:
  • Kol Nidre—to annul all vows.
  • The Shema
  • Amidah
  • Avinu Malkeinu—“Our Father, Our King,” (It’s a prayer during a time of fasting).
  • Minchah (Leviticus 18) – while this is read in the synagogues, the Midrash explains that we shouldn’t uncover the “nakedness” of others, just as Hashem didn’t uncover the “nakedness” of Israel. It is also a reminder that sexual immorality is a sin, but can be forgiven.
  • Viduly—prayer of confession upon the sins made.
  • Neilah—closing the gates (Day of Atonement).
  • Seek Forgiveness—if you have acknowledged your sins, it is time to approach those you have hurt, offended, or transgressed against with sincerity and honesty to ask for forgiveness. If they are resentful and do not accept your apology then it’s in Hashem’s hands. Sometimes we have to wipe the dust from our shoes and turn it over to Hashem. But we must try first.

Practice the customary restrictions that remind us of humility:

  • No perfumes or oils on body,
  • Baths and showers are skipped.
  • No animal products (leather shoes) are worn.
  • Fast from foods and water for twenty-five hours—this can be omitted for those with medical issues, pregnant, nursing, young children, or elderly.
  • Donate money—if it isn’t plausible, donate your time to those less fortunate.
  • Attend Shul or a synagogue if possible.
  • Nosh—after the sun goes down on sunset on Yom Kippur, it’s time to break the fast and eat! The first meal is the pre-fast meal—the meal of separation. The second meal is after the fast. Both meals are to be prepared before the fast.
  • G’mar Hatima Tova (Say to others): May you be sealed in the Book of Life!
  • G’mar Tov (Say to others): May you have an easy fast!

 

Shalom!

[1] Numbers 29:7, Sefaria

[2] Leviticus 23:27-32, Sefaria

[3] Jonah 4:2, Sefaria

 

 

 

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Rosh Hashanah

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Rosh Hashanah

As we venture into this amazing Holy Day, it is important to understand connections. Many believe that Elokim is our Creator, but so many people have missed the connections along the way; namely, knowing what Hashem’s festivals are. One might say, “I thought I was following the map, I saw the street signs, but I didn’t realize there was more to it, and I got lost along the way.”

Rosh Hashanah is the fifth holiday to be observed. There is also a connection of Rosh Hashannah to Creation. Let’s seek further:

Birds and Fish were created were created on Day Five. They swim/fly fiercely and rapidly, taking the seed out in the water/wind currents—carrying Emet (truth). The Hebrew letters were part of creation [Hebrew letters have a specific meaning for its function]; therefore, we must factor in the Hebrew letter five as “Hey.” Hey is to “Behold.”

There are (7) Spirits of G-d, (7) Days of Creation, (7) Festivals, (7) Candlesticks (Menorah- 7 branches).

  • The Spirit of Power (Ruach Gvurah—Mighty Warrior) alludes to the strength to carry out a task or commandment of Hashem.
    • Wind—Spirit—Ruach
    • Provision
    • Birds scatter seeds –taking the Torah out to the Nations.
    • TESHUVAH-RETURN means to have Repentance/ to turn back to G-d!
    • To mend ones way by making a change in our direction following Hashem’s way.
    • The seeds that fell under the tree on the third day will grow and provide a resting counsel for the birds that return from the scatterings and migrations of the fifth day.
    • The Ruach haKodesh- Set Apart.

There are (3) Themes which are in the fall months.
1. Remembrance
2. Hashem’s Sovereignty
3. Shofar

The call to remembrance -100 blast of the shofar.
There are (3) types of blasts: tekiah, shavarim, and teruah. The tekiah is one long blast signaling the alarm. The shavarim consists of three medium blasts of wailing, and the teruah consists of nine short blasts like broken sobs. The one hundredth blast in called the last trumpet.

Some of the reasons for the Trumpets blown:
• Proclaim Hashem as King on the anniversary of Creation! Yes, it’s an anniversary of creation—us!
• To announce the 10-days of Awe as a warning that Elokim will enforce His decrees.
• To remind us that we said we would listen and do all of Hashem’s Commandments at the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.
• To remember that if we don’t change our ways, we are responsible for our own destruction.
• Cities will tremble, so will man.
• It reminds us that the shofar will be blown on the Day of Judgment. This is a self-check in asking ourselves, “Where are we in our walk? Are we really following the TORAH? Wake-up!!
• The shofar will be blown on the day of resurrection. Hashem is our victory.

Let’s get started:

In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing the shofar, a holy convocation.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying:                   

“Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts.” (Leviticus 23:23-24)[1]

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar which holds a great significance. It is also the Sabbatical month—set apart. The number seven also represent spiritual completeness.

In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations. You shall observe it as a day when the horn is sounded”. (Numbers 29:1)[2]

Rosh Hashanah is a two-day festival, and means “Head of the Year” and a Day of Blowing (shofar). This Hebrew calendar date is on Tishrei one which is mid-September to mid-October. These are the Holy days of Hahsem, and His spiritual covering for the Bride.

During the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, the “Ten Days of Awe” begins; ending on Yom Kippur. Yamin Norai’m is Hebrew for the Ten Days of Awe. On Erev Rosh Hashanah, the Orthodox Jewish men will go to Mikvah (ritual bath). During this time G-d opens His three books and decrees a person’s destiny that determines the life and death of that individual for the coming year. The three books are viewed during Rosh Hashanah and judgments are made on Yom Kippur. The Book of Life, the Book of Death, and the Book of Judgment are the three books our names can be recorded in. If an individual’s name is written in the Book of Death, true repentance (Teshuvah) can remove that name from Death to the Book of Life, according to the promises in scripture.

Rosh Hashanah is also known as “The Day of Remembrance.” It is the day the shofar is blown as a call to repentance. To become “Awakened!” (Leviticus 23:24) It’s a remembrance of the Sovereignty and Kingship of G-d, and the binding of Isaac. Although the Father can forgive at any time, during the Holy Days, Hashem is in the field; drawing closer to us. There are many scriptures that support these three books. G-d’s Book of Remembrance is found in Malachi 3:16.  A Daniel 7:10 state the judgment was set, and the book was opened. Hashem will have two thrones of judgment. One throne will be strict justice and the other of mercy. Exodus 32:32-33 reminds us of the conversation between Hashem and Moses when Hashem said, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will erase him from My book.”

Rosh Hashanah is the destiny (tsaddikim) for the righteous, and death (resha’im) for the wicked, according to rabbinical tradition. There will come a time when the books are sealed, and what we have done in life with our choices to repent, or not, determines our fate. There are ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called the “Ten Days of Repentance” also known as “Aseret Yemei.”

Day of Judgment is coming. The Books will be opened and where our names are recorded seals our fate. It’s never safe to assume “you’re in”

G-d is a G-d of mercy, but also of Justice. The Blowing of the shofar will be exciting and joyous for His Chosen Ones. Sound the shofar!!!

“‘Wash yourselves clean; Put your evil doings Away from My sight. Cease to do evil; Learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; Aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; Defend the cause of the widow.  “Come, let us reach an understanding, —says the LORD. Be your sins like crimson, They can turn snow-white; Be they red as dyed wool, They can become like fleece.” If, then, you agree and give heed, You will eat the good things of the earth; But if you refuse and disobey, You will be devoured [by] the sword.— For it was the LORD who spoke.’”[3] (Isaiah 1:16-20)

Elul is the time when Hashem moves closer to us. Hashem is in the field—I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3) This is the time to reevaluate ourselves, judge our choices in life, attitude, behaviors, intentions, and thoughts and seek repentance. Repentance is more than just saying we are sorry. The Hebrew word to repent is Teshuvah. It means to make a turnaround, to go back to G-d. We don’t want our names blotted out by our own choices to sin. This is a good time to ask others to forgive us of any offense and for those we have offended, to forgive freely. Our prayers on Rosh Hashanah convey a deeper understanding of Hashem’s existence, and it reminds us to appreciate His sovereignty. Our attitude is a reflection of our inner self. Everyone is accountable for their actions.

It’s essential to understand one of our greatest responsibilities is to value the life and needs of others. This is the time to draw near to Hashem in humbleness. Seek His divine will. We all have made mistakes and sinned. It’s important to remember not to allow the past mistakes to govern and determine our future. We, as human beings, have free will that determines who we are.

Rabbi Richman’s parashat Bereshit humbly reminds us:

“The world is created anew each day by G-d as an expression of G-d’s love for His creation. Live each day anew for each day comes but once and each day holds a world of potential never before fulfilled, just waiting for you, today, to make the most of G-d’s creation.”[4]

Do we give our free will to the Nefesh (self-desires), or do we place our Ruach above free will? Will we hear Hashem when He calls? Will our choices and behaviors honor or shame Hashem? G-d is known for His Thirteen Attributes of Mercy:

“‘The LORD came down in a cloud; He stood with him there, and proclaimed the name LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed: “The LORD! the LORD! a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children’s children, upon the third and fourth generations.’” (Exodus 34:5-7)[5]

Davening is a Yiddish word for Jewish prayers with a deeper meaning. Moses had a desire to “see” Hashem face-to-face, but Hashem revealed Himself to Moses in a cloud covering, according to Exodus 34:5, in a different way. Hashem revealed to Moses His perspective of how He sees us with mercy:

  1. The Lord—Hashem is merciful. He gives us opportunities to request forgiveness and try again.
  2. The Lord—Hashem is merciful for the one who went astray to come back.
  3. G-d (El)—His mercy is given even though His Name signifies power over nature as ruler of mankind.
  4. Rahum—Compassionate
  5. V’hanun—Gracious. G-d is gracious when we do not deserve it. He comforts those who are afflicted. Mercy.
  6. Ereh apayim—Slow to anger. Hashem gives us time to overcome our sins.
  7. V’rav hesed—Abundant in Kindness. He is kind to us when we are lacking in merits.
  8. V’emet—Truth. Hashem never breaks His covenant with us.
  9. Notzeir chesed la’alafim—Preserver of kindness for thousands of generations. Hashem remembers the deeds of the righteous.
  10. Nosei avon—Hashem forgives our inequity, contingent upon our repentance.
  11. Pesha—Hashem forgives willful sins, extended to those who willfully rebelled against Hashem. He gives us an opportunity to repent and teshuvah. A restoration.
  12. V’hata’ah—Forgiver of error. Hashem forgives unintentional sins,carelessness.
  13. V’nakeh—Who cleanses. The Father will forgive and cleanse those who are repentant and returns to Hashem. In His mercy and graciousness, He is merciful to forgive us.

Hashem will forgive those who truly have teshuvah and return to Him in humbleness. How many times do we misuse His mercy and grace like a drive-thru window and take His forgiveness lightly? We often take it for granted because He is extremely patient with us instead of allowing our sin to destroy ourselves as soon as we mess up. G-d IS merciful to forgive us!

We (Israel) are to be a Light to the Nations. We are to take the Torah and teach others about G-d’s Emet. May we draw near to Hashem, fall to our knees in repentance, be renewed in the Hashem and shout for joy for our KING! All praises and Glory to Hashem!

As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah there are three types of turning to be observed:

  • Turning to G-d (tefillah).
  • Turning to those we have offended and humble ourselves(teshuvah).
  • Turning to those in need by love offerings, physically helping;setting our own needs aside: poor, widow, orphan, etc. (tzedakah)

How to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah:

  • Teshuvah—Return to the Father. Repent and ask others for forgiveness. Hashem is in the Field! Restore the relationship with Hashem and others (if possible).
  • Be humble.
  • Blow the Shofar on both mornings! This is a memorial to proclaim Rosh Hashanah! Because He is in the field, and we anticipate the coming of the Messiah. It reminds us that Hashem provided a Ram in place of Isaac in the thorny thicket.

Don’t blow the shofar if it’s on Shabbat.

  • High Holy Sabbath. Do not do any ordinary work.
  • Holy Convocation. Gather with like kind and like mind on this special day to celebrate.
  • Tashlich ceremony—a beautiful tradition for family to go out to a body of moving water such as a stream or river and toss in bread crumbs, or tiny rocks, if it’s not on the Sabbath. This is done on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. This reminds us of G-d’s forgiveness by casting our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
  • Rosh Hashanah Seder plate, dinners, and blessings
  • Lighting candles each evening. The candles are lit by the women and girls. The candles are lit eighteen minutes before sunset on the first night, and after sunset on the second night.

 

And the LORD will manifest Himself to them, And His arrows shall flash like lightning; My Lord G-D shall sound the ram’s horn And advance in a stormy tempest.” (Zechariah 9:14)[6]

It is a time when Israel remembers the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), and they have self-reflection, repent, and call out to our Father Who is our Redeemer and Shield. During this time, Hashem draws nearer to listen to His Chosen children, and gathers them to the Promised Land– rejoicing.

Like a mother coming quickly to the cry of her baby, our Father Hashem will return:

Like a woman with child Approaching childbirth, Writhing and screaming in her pangs, So are we become because of You, O LORD.” (Isaiah 26:17)[7]

Remembering the promise Hashem made to Abraham, G-d will carefully gather His people back to Him on the great blowing of the shofar. The “Book of Deeds” is not necessarily deeds that we have gone off to do. The deeds are Hashem’s deeds on what our Father has already told us to do in the Tanach. Are we walking in the Torah? Don’t wait until later to seek the Father. We are never promised tomorrow. We all have been given a number of days. We are to use each day given wisely—bringing Heaven down to earth.

As our Father draws nearer to us, that is when we need to draw nearer to Hashem, just like Moses did. We should not hide when the Father draws near us like Adam and Chavah did in the Garden.

May we come to Hashem with a contrite heart that desires to please Hashem.

Shalom!

 

 

 

[1] Leviticus 23:23-24, Sefaria

[2] Numbers 29:1, Sefaria

[3] Isaiah 1:16-20, Sefaria

[4] templeinstitute.org/events.htm/feed/rosh_hashana-store/beged/archive/red_heifer/

red_heifer/red-heifer-fact-and-fiction.htm

[5] Exodus 34:5-7, Sefaria

[6] Zechariah 9:14, Sefaria

[7] Isaiah 26:17, Sefaria

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