Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Ready for the New Year - 5772

The Jewish High Holy Days begin in the month of Elul (September this year).  The entire month is one of reflection and preparation for the new year and for the act of Teshuvah, turning back to God.

On Rosh Hashanah ( the beginning of October this year), we celebrate the coming year with the hope and prayer that it be a good year, a sweet year, and a prosperous year.  We dip apples in honey, eat round Challah and drink wine.

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are The 10 Days of Awe, during which time we are to make amends for the wrongdoing of the year past, by going directly to the persons we have wronged, if possible, to say we are sorry.  Forgiveness from the persons wronged is not required. Taking responsibility for our mistakes is the objective, not gaining forgiveness.  We must, however, go to each person 3 times, and if they do not except our apology, we need not try again.

On Yom Kippur, we tell God that we are sorry for the wrongdoings committed against God.  We do ask for God's forgiveness, which comes (or does not) in the form of being written in The Book of Life for another year.  We ask for another year of life to "get it right".  We also remember those in our families who have died by lighting candles saying special prayers.At sundown on Yom Kippur The Book of Life is closed for another year.  We say Havdalah (we seperate these holy days from the rest of the year), wishing for a "Good year, a year of peace in which the Messiah (the one anointed to announce the time of peace and plenty on the earth) may come."

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