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L’shanah Tovah!

by David Yeagley · September 15, 2004 · 17 Comments ·

Let the trumpet sound!

This evening, September 15, begins the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. According to the Hebrew calendar, it is the year 5765. In the ancient Near East, the sunset is considered the beginning of the new day. The modern Gregorian calendars will note September 16 as Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah takes place in the ancient Hebrew month of Tishrei, the seventh month, to which the Gregorian calendar corresponds with mid-September to mid-October. Interestingly, this is the season of Autumn, not Spring. For many cultures, the New Year is in the Spring, at the seemingly more appropriate season of rebirth. The Persian calendar, for instance, celebrates NoRooz, marking the solar year which begins some time during March or April. So why would the ancient Hebrew calendar begin the new year at the season when leaves begin to fall?

The Jewish holiday proports to commemorate Creation itself, on an annual basis. Thoughts are directed to the Giver of Life, the Creator, and the holiday involves renewal of ones essential spiritual relationship with the Almighty. Of course, Sabbath itself is the weekly commemoration of Creation (Gen.2:2-4; Ex. 20:8-11), but there is also the special marking of the new year in Torah (Lev. 23:23), the first day of the seventh month.

Tishrei, then is not the first month of the Hebrew calendar. Instead, the first month is Nisan/Abib, in which Passover (Pesach) takes place, and that in fact is in the Spring. The tenth day of Nisan/Abib (Exodus 13:3,4) is the day the children of Israel came out of Egypt. This begins at the new moon. Passover is the birth of Israel as a nation. Rosh Hashanah is the birth of the world.

Lest the non-Jewish mind become confused, however, with the numerous calendars of use in the world, historically and even today, it should be recognized that the point of Jewish holidays has always been spirituality, and that is something invited in all and offered to all, every Sabbath day (Saturday). Sabbath is the true basis on which to build an understanding of all the other holidays.

Holidays are relatively somber, but for a reason: the greatest joy is achieved through self-understanding, and not revelling and abandon. Lasting inner peace and strength are not evolved through jubilance alone, but through deep searching of heart, and complete commitment to life’s grandest values.

It is a stunning moment, to be in a Jewish synagogue during the High Holidays. I recommend it for everyone. The Jewish prayer books are profound in their address to the human heart. We should all make such an effort. Renewal of the soul is not so costly as prolonged self-deception. Better to face the music, the shofar, (the ram’s horn, the trumpet call), than to hide in goodly Babylonish garments. Better to be honest with oneself, than to constantly trying to impress others.

shofar2.gif

Leshana tova tikateiv v’techateim. Leshana tova tikateivi vetichatemi. And a healthy gut yoar to all.

Posted by David Yeagley · September 15, 2004 · 8:16 pm CT · ·

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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sioux // Sep 15, 2004 at 10:16 pm   

    Happy New Year to you, too, Dr. Y — thanks for that explanation on the calendars. I finally understood it for the first time!
    You are quite right about experiencing the sound of the shofar – it penetrates the soul even more than the bagpipe – it is other worldly in a primeval sort of way. It carries you back to when God first began separating out his chosen people from among the pagans. Sh’mah, Israel – Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echaud…

  • 2 Nadine // Sep 15, 2004 at 11:41 pm   

    Thanks for posting this! (:^D

    I grew up with a Jewish family that lived on the other block from my family (btw they were the only Jewish family in the neighborhood, as well as we were the only Indian family). Likewise, I used to work at a Jewish developmentally disabled group home through JAFS.

    The eldest daughter of said family is my eldest sister’s best friend (have been since they were 12 yrs. old). And the two boys used to be best friends with my older brother, also me, b/c I’d hang out with them all (yeah, bratty baby sista & all). Lol! (:^D We still keep in touch via our sisters btw. (:^)

    Anyhow, Rochelle (aka Shelley) called tonight b/c she’s in charge of getting the food together….and is stressing big time…..has to buy & prepare $75 worth of fish, as well as raspberry & pound cake, which she will be serving at $4 apiece (as agreed upon by the relatives since she & her husband have to pay for everything). All is taking place at her daddy’s cabana tomorrow evening. (:^)

    ***Note: she’s a superb cook btw (no lie). No wonder she’s in charge of the food (lol).***

    Peace & Love, Nadine

    P.S. My own family is preparing for my eldest’s sister b-day tomorrow as well. (:^)

    “HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH EVERYONE”

  • 3 David Yeagley // Sep 16, 2004 at 2:32 pm   

    Thank you, my Indian friends, for your comments. I know people often question my relish for Jewish things. What’s an Indian got to do with Jews? they ask.

    I call it intuition. Jews know what it’s like to be unwanted, outnumbered, and persecuted. Simple as that. I’m not saying all Jews have the same relish for American Indians, but, that doesn’t matter as much to me.

    I study ancient things, looking for wisdom in this complex modern world.

  • 4 ben // Sep 16, 2004 at 8:13 pm   

    Thank You,

    The Jews have contributed so much to the money system and entertainment industry. I’m deeply moved that a lone voice in the wilderness of death and decay points out the depth of Jewish spirituality. Only those of great wisdom could possibly see the gold found in the street of mortality. The Jews are the only true representatives of God’s Love on the earth, and the only true representatives of our wonderful entertainment, and the true representatives of that, which allowed Christianity to bloom in a world of despair. Holy, Holy, Holy are all things Jewish especially the media and the entertainment industry. All Indians should bow to this great spirituality. (Especially Indian Women)

  • 5 shirin // Sep 16, 2004 at 10:11 pm   

    thank you for the eloquent and informative article. please check this site: http://shalomdch.org/flash_shofar.swf
    with all my best wishes for a year of good tidings and happiness.

  • 6 David Yeagley // Sep 17, 2004 at 9:34 am   

    So Ben, you want to blame “the Jews” because they give the people what they want? That’s like blaming the Mexicans for the fact that white people hire them. That’s like blaming the Indians because white people gamble away millions at Indian casinos. That’s like blaming alcoholism on the manufacturers of whiskey.

    Will you ever allow anyone to say anything positive about anyone else without trying to over turn it? Don’t you give anyone credit for anything? How do you fit into the world yourself? Who are your ‘heroes’? Surely you have some. If not, what are you here for yourself? What is it that you value so much higher than spirituality, or any culture’s attempts at expressing it?

    Time to ‘fess up, son!

  • 7 Sioux // Sep 17, 2004 at 10:56 am   

    Ben – Lighten UP! One might think that you are a bigot given this stereotyping sarcasm. The Jews I have known run the gamut just like for all people in whatever ethnic/religious group. And what’s this about Indian women bowing down to them? Likely it would be the other way around.
    No one can deny that the Jews have taken some of the worst adversities and atrocities (mass forced deportations into ghettos and inhospitable land, death camps, starvation, etc. — sound familiar?) All at the hands of other humans who saw them the way you seem to. Throughout all this, their humanity, humor and good will have helped them survive and prevail. I see much more to envy than to despise. Perhaps it is their success that irks you so much?

  • 8 Nora @ Dr. Y. // Sep 17, 2004 at 11:37 am   

    “Will you ever allow anyone to say anything positive about anyone else without trying to over turn it?”
    ————————————————————

    What a darn stupid question. Of course he will. Just not about the Jews.

    When will you start to understand that this is a BRAIN DISEASE and that one can’t argue with the seriously handicapped.

  • 9 David Yeagley // Sep 17, 2004 at 2:02 pm   

    Well, maybe you’re right after all, Nora, about the incurrable nature of the anti-Semitic disposition.

    I thought it was in incredibly poor taste for someone to slight the Jews on a high holiday post like this. I should have deleted Ben’s post, instead of responding. But now there are other responses to it. One has to be quick on the draw on these commentaries.

    This kind of egregeous lack of decore is the kind of thing Leftist indulge in constantly, but, yet I have never seen anything in Ben’s posts that would indicate Leftism at all.

    So, can we say anti-Semitism is an isolated DNA misanthropy?

  • 10 Publius // Sep 17, 2004 at 2:39 pm   

    I’ve heard it said often said that cultures invariably discover or create an “enemy” or scapegoat against whom they can fight, displace anger and unhappiness, and in general blame for whatever toxins they identify in the world. Perhaps that tendency is part of anti-semitism, as well as other forms of bigotry and racism.

  • 11 Ben // Sep 17, 2004 at 9:09 pm   

    Only in this culture could our conversation exist!!! I am in the deepest GRATITUDE my brother would allow me to voice such opposition to that which I truly love, that is spirituality. Even if it is Jewish I am in awe of God and his Majesty and the Jewish traditions. Please know my passion for truth is the true disease that I suffer. In Love for all I salute my brethren.

  • 12 Ben // Sep 17, 2004 at 9:23 pm   

    Is it truly egregious to question your blindness, or do you consider your opionions or taste above reproach in our culture??? Are the Jewish Holidays more high and holy than Indian high an holy days? That is HIGH and HOLY days, or are you really an Indian?

  • 13 David Yeagley // Sep 17, 2004 at 10:03 pm   

    Ben, if I were to have made a blog on some Buddhist holiday, would you have pointed out the absolute existential futility of Buddhist thought in the real world?

    If I had posted on an old Celtic/Nordic holiday would you have pronounced it heathen and then pointed out the indefagitable war-like aggressive nature of the White Anglo-Saxon, and condemn him as the cause of all the problems in the present world?

    If I posted on the Hindu holiday, would you have pointed out the banality of reincarnation and how the belief manifests iself in mindless reproduction, idolization/sacredness of beasts, and the utter social irresponsibility such a belief ingenders in a society?

    I think this is the point here. This was a simple show of respect for a Jewish holiday, and you felt you had to condemn the Jews, especially at such a sacred moment to them.

    Either you must be prepared to do the same toward every race, and every holiday, or else just see yourself as one with that DNA irregularity we’re calling anti-Semitism!

    There is really only one thing about me that is un-Indian: my regard for the Sabbath. I actually hate the demarcation of time, other than new moons, and seasons. Numbering days I find wholly offensive.

    Why do I regard the Sabbath? It is truly the only thing that gives me an objective view of myself. Otherwise, yes, I am completely heathen.
    The idea of holy time, in my face, every seventh day, I find a strange challenge. I can’t see it, or feel it. There is no empirical evidence of it. So it charms me. It annoys me. It calls for war in my soul. I respond.

  • 14 Ben // Sep 17, 2004 at 10:08 pm   

    MISANTHROPY AYE? Can it be true that freedom is MISANTHRROPIC? Would you feel more powerful to delete my response to your so profoundly held beliefs? Do so, if it gives such delight to the ego. Must we never consider that our opinions or thoughts should be sanctified because those around us agree? Fear is the great possesor of our souls and of this FEAR I have no fear. As ye have done unto these ye my brethren,ye have done unto me. I’m positive that my quote is incorrect for Jews celebrating their high and holy holiday, or are there any Jews in your listening audience who care to respond to such great imperfection on such a high and holy holiday?

  • 15 Ben // Sep 17, 2004 at 10:22 pm   

    You assume much that is incorrect and of this I can only say “I expect as much”! You can never be wrong in your extrapolations, for then you would be vulnarable. Intellect is one of many valuable possesions that we have, but it is very limited. Go ahead and delete my musings, I can only expect such bahavior from deep FEAR.

  • 16 Nora @ Dr. Y. // Sep 18, 2004 at 7:16 am   

    So, can we say anti-Semitism is an isolated DNA misanthropy?

    ————————————————————

    I doubt that it is DNA-related (I may be wrong), it is deeply ingrained in the Western culture, although I always marvel at the fact to which extent America is free from it. I could say now that this “Ben” is somebody who is so dumb that he can’t even spell “vulnerable” and was probably outsmarted by some Jew, but it isn’t as simple as that. I know highly educated, even bright, people as well as people I know and respect as seriously good and deep-down-decent, who are raging antisemites. Antisemitism seems to override decency, goodness, knowledge of the better and intelligence, so what do you expect from a semi-illiterate dork like “Ben”?

    As to the Left and Right thing, it is independent of any political affiliation. In Nazi-Germany, the Right took antisemitism to an all-time low with the silent consent of all Germans, Left, Right and Center. In Italy, Fascism was only as antisemitic as it had to be to appease the strong ally Germany. Stalin was an antisemite, there really is no political pattern for it.

    As I said, a brain disease, whatever the source.

  • 17 David Yeagley // Sep 18, 2004 at 3:10 pm   

    Well, maybe Ben was in the wrong “spirits,” as in Typing Under the Influence? A TUI, shall we say?

    I don’t know. To me it just shows bloody inconsideration, or, severe dearth of social skills, or absense of comprehension of one’s circumstances. And also, maybe Ben doesn’t know about the HEAT Forum. Many posters just touch on the blog, and move on, without ever entering the site.

    Ben, it isn’t about ego. It is about simple propriety and common human courtesy. If you cannot render such a light thing, on such a religious moment, then your words would imply you are an iconoclast, and hateful toward all religion.

    Is this what spiritual eclecticism results in, a disdain, and in this case a wicked rudeness, toward all religion?

    It has nothing to do with fear or vulnerability on my part. It has to do with the lack good will toward men, on your part. Your illusion to the words of Jesus make no sense here at all, that I can see. Rather, apply them to yourself.

    You want to blast away at someone else’s religious faith? “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40). This is Jesus speaking, not Ben. Forgive me, but I don’t see you as Jesus here, by any stretch of esoteric imagination.

    Even though this is only the internet, there are real people here, with real feelings. Your intentional attack, at such a moment as Rosh Hashanah, only shows you are not being objective at all. It is your ego involved, not anyone elses, really. You are despising others.

    Furthermore, you did not respond to any of my questions about examples of your attitude toward other religious phenomenon.

    Nevertheless, perhaps Rosh Hashanah is having an effect on you, in spite of yourself. It’s all about facing the call of the Almighty. Maybe in your own way, you’re doing that. Blasphemy doesn’t really threaten God, now does it? If your path to the Lord is through a necessary cursing, then so be it.

    Common courtesy, however, is a universal balm among we fellow humans.

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