The Palestinian statehood vote at the United Nations may get slotted for either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, according to word that has reached Israel's Foreign Ministry. Placing the vote on either of these upcoming holidays would act as a way to get Israeli diplomats out of the room, unable to offer a final contrary opinion before ballot time. As Itamar Eichner writes at Ynet News, "If the vote is held on Yom Kippur, there will not be a single Israeli diplomat at the UN." The significance of a UN vote to create a Palestinian state on the Jewish new year will not be overlooked.
Jewish communities throughout the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah as the sun sets next Wednesday. Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year" and commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Tishri, which this year starts at sundown on September 28th and ends on the 30th.
Israeli President Shimon Peres offered a Rosh Hashanah message on Tuesday, saying that he hoped the year 5722 would herald greater peace, security, and ecnomic hope. "I extend my warm and best wishes to the Jewish people around the world for a year of peace, joy, good health and prosperity."
The commandment to observe Rosh Hashanah is found in Leviticus 23:23-25:
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 'Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.'"
It is also mentioned in Numbers 29:1: "And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you."
One of the central features of Rosh Hashanah is the shofar. The shofar is an instrument made from a ram's horn that sounds somewhat like a trumpet. In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as Yom Teruah, the day of the sounding of the shofar, otherwise known as the Feast of Trumpets. The shofar is often representative of Abraham's offering Isaac to God as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22). It was then that God provided Abraham with a ram caught by its horns in a thicket as a substitute for Isaac.
Rosh Hashanah is a time of both celebration and repentance. It is a time of spiritual renewal through prayer and deep personal reflection leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on the 10th day of Tishri (Leviticus 23:26-28). Rosh Hashanah is when the Jewish people recognize God as King and Judge over all living things. On Rosh Hashanah we celebrate the creation of the world, when "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good," (Genesis 1:31).
The vast majority of Christians are unfamiliar with most of the traditional Jewish holidays. Yet they hold great spiritual and prophetic significance. In Colossians 2:16-17 Paul says, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come.
" For more information about Rosh Hashanah or other Jewish holy days and their prophetic significance refer to our briefing The Feasts of Israel.
Rosh Hashanah is a time of forgiveness and new beginnings. Please take some time out of your week for serious introspection. Examine your heart before God and spend time in prayer.
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
[This is the first installment of a three part series on the fall feasts of Israel. Next week’s article will cover Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement.]