Free Hebrew lessons – September 2010 – Training – Day 38
Shalom ^averim (Hello friends),
Since you have learned some Hebrew during our Heblish course, I thought you might be interested in knowing a bit more about our tradition.
As you know, last Thursday was the first day in the Hebrew calendar, Rosh Ha’shana.
Yom Kippur will be this Saturday.
The ten days between Rosh Ha’shana and Yom Kippur are called “The (Jewish) High Holidays,” – in Hebrew: Ha’yamim Ha’noraim. The literal meaning of “Ha’yamim Ha’noraim is “The Terrible Days.” Why “terrible?” Because, according to the Jewish faith, during these 10 days God decides who will live and who will die during the next year…
So, ten days after Rosh Ha’shana we have a fast day (25-26 hours) called Yom Kippur. It’s not just a fast day. It is the holiest day of the year. On this day, the Jewish people are suppose to suffer, or afflict their souls and bodies, through prayer, fasting, and denial of some “comforts,” as they seek atonement and forgiveness for their sins of the past year.
Most modern Jews use the “fast” as a symbol of their suffering. I’m sure some of you can relate to this idea of “suffering” if you think about skipping your next lunch.
The meaning of Yom Kippur is “Forgiveness Day.” On this day we don’t eat, we don’t work, we don’t turn the lights on or off or use fire of any kind (to light a cigarette, fireplace, etc.), and we don’t drive… so we have a lot of time to pray to God and ask Him to “sign” us, to place His signature on us, that we may live through the coming year. Actually, in my family (and in a lot of other families I know) we play chess, monopoly, cards or maybe ride bicycles… but at the end of the day, before 3 stars have risen in the sky, we go to the synagogue to hear the sound of the Shofar (ram’s horn).
That’s it, in brief: Rosh Ha’shana, Ha’yamim Ha’noraim and Yom Kippur.
Shana Tova and lehitraot for an important lesson next week, lesson 39…