La Shana Tova! Goodbye 5774! Welcome 5775! It is that time again where we eat apples and honey, track down some round challah, hear the sound of the shofar, and flip years in the Jewish Calendar.
The Bible talks about Rosh Hashanah (which literally means the head of the year) as Yom Teruah (day of trumpets) in Leviticus 23:23-25. It doesn’t say much specific about the day, beyond that it is to be a day of sabbath rest and that there should be an assembly marked by trumpet blasts. In New York City all of the public schools are closed Thursday and Friday in observance, but individual observances look different. Some people will spend the day in synagogue, some people will spend the day with family, some people will visit bodies of water to symbolically throw their sins away, and for some people it will be just a normal Thursday.
The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are called the Days of Awe and are days people often spend considering their actions over the last year and seeking to apologize to people they may have wronged. For those of us who are followers of Yeshua this time of year can be bittersweet. On the one hand we have joy and peace knowing that God does not hold our sins against us and knowing that Yeshua is our Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. On the other hand, these days can hold grief as we think of friends and family members who are wondering if they have expressed sufficient remorse for their wrongdoing in the last year or if atonement has been given to them.
The passage that is traditionally read at Rosh Hashanah is from Genesis 22 and tells about the binding of Isaac and the sacrifice that Abraham almost made of his son. God promised Abraham a family, gave this child Isaac to him after many years of waiting, and then asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac back to him. Not to spoil the ending of the story, but God steps in. Abraham shows his faith and trust in God and God provides another sacrifice in the form of a ram caught in a bush. God provides. As one year on the Jewish Calendar ends and another one begins let us take the opportunity to thank God for the ways he has provided for us and more than that, the ways that God has forgiven us and sustained us.
L’Shana Tova Camp Gilgal!