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The life giving purpose of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe

The life giving purpose of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe

Rosh Hashanah is considered a High Holy Day, marking the Jewish New Year and signaling

the coming of Yom Kippur when sacrifice is made for the sins of the world.

Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, a ram's horn is blown to mark its arrival and to remind people to make necessary apologies and restitution before Yom Kippur ten days later.

The ten days that separate these two High Holy Days are known as the Days of Awe and are to be used for introspection upon one's life and choices, especially for any deeds that need to be confessed of.

The day begins with the rabbinical proclamation, "Awake from your slumbers, ye who have fallen asleep in life, and reflect on your deeds. Remember your creator. Be not of those who miss reality in pursuit of shadows, and waste their years in seeking after vain things. Forsake your evil ways and thoughts."The life giving purpose of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe

It was on this day Abraham originally made sacrifice of a ram whose horn was caught in the thicket, thus the use of a shofar or ram's horn in contemporary celebrations. The sounding of a trumpet is also representative of the arrival of a king, recognition of God's sovereignty over the affairs of men.

Women receive special acknowledgment on this day and rest from all work as the women did not give their jewelry to make the golden calf as the men did upon leaving Egypt under Moses in the book of Exodus.

Ole Anthony shares, "On Rosh Hashanah it is said that God opens three books. One is the Book of Lifefor those whose works have been good. One is the book of deathfor those whose works are thoroughly evil, and one is the intermediate bookfor those whose works are lukewarm or undecided. For the people in the intermediate book, their case will be decided on Yom Kippur, ten days later. God grants the delay in order that all may come to repentance."

So may the dawning of this day remind us to value those in our lives, to make right what we have done wrong, to apologize where we need to, and reflect to upon who we are and where we are going.

And above all, the trumpet sounds that we might awaken to the precious life we have been given, the love we have received, and the forgiveness and grace God offers as we embrace with in the promise, "You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19).

The life giving purpose of Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe

By: Tobin Crenshaw
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