Shanah Tovah, to all of our brothers and sisters around the world! We are about to enter the season of the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot – one after the other.

Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets

Rosh Hashanah falls on the first day of the seventh month of Tishrei. The biblical name for Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of Trumpets.

Arthur Szyk's illustration of Rosh Hashanah, from The Holiday Series: Six Paintings of Jewish Holidays, 1948
Arthur Szyk’s illustration of Rosh Hashanah, from The Holiday Series: Six Paintings of Jewish Holidays, 1948

The reason that Israel blew the trumpets on the first day of the seventh month is because we essentially adapted the old Babylonian Canaanite calendar. But according to the Babylonian calendar, the first day of the seventh month was the day of the resurrection of the pagan god Baal. Every year he died at the end of the rainy season, and was resurrected again at the beginning of the next rainy season.

The beginning of the rainy season is usually between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot. So his mother, the Asherah, went down to Hades, to hell, and resurrected her son from the dead, because he was the god of rain.

So we blew the trumpet as a call to war against idolatry, as a call to the eradication of the idols. As a call to return all men, women, and children, Israelites and non-Israelites, Jews and non-Jews, to the knowledge of the One God who created Heaven and Earth, and not an idol that died and is resurrected every year, like Baal.

And we, as disciples of Yeshua, as believing men and women, still have to fight idolatry, especially in Asia. But not only in Asia, even in Israel and in the United States, and around the world.

So we begin this cycle of holidays with the Feast of Trumpets, the modern tradition of the Jewish New Year. As opposed to the modern tradition, The biblical New Year falls on the first day of Nissan, which is actually around the end of March. But tradition is tradition. As it says in Fiddler on the Roof, “We have a tradition for everything.” So we have a tradition for this too.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

And then comes Yom Kippur, on the 10th day of the seventh month, which is a biblical holiday. Yom Kippur comes 10 days after Rosh Hashanah. It is a very serious day.

Our congregation in Jerusalem was the first one, and still one of the few, in Israel, and the world, that still fasts on Yom Kippur. The fasting on Yom Kippur is not for our sins. It was never for individual sins. It’s a fasting for the nation of Israel, for our national sins, for our collective sins as a nation. That’s why our congregation fasts.

70% of Israelis fast on Yom Kippur. 70% of this nation fasts on one day a year, on the Day of Atonement, the day when the scapegoat was sent out into the desert, into Azazel, to die and to take the sins of our people with her.

The biggest scapegoat in human history is not the scapegoat that was sent into the desert every year, but it is Yeshua, Yeshua HaMashiach. That Jew that was born in Bethlehem, raised in the Galilee, crucified in Jerusalem, ascended to Heaven, and is coming back to Jerusalem.

He is the biggest scapegoat in Israel. He was despised and rejected by us, not only by us, but by the Christian world as well. Don’t think that the Christians accept Yeshua. They can worship Him, they can praise Him, but they don’t accept Him. They accept Him on the cross.

But they know very well that if He comes back, He’s not going to be on the cross, He’s going to kick some rear-ends, folks, Christian rear-ends. Probably more than anybody else, because of what the Christians have done to His brothers and sisters, the Jewish nation.

Yeshua fasted and Paul fasted. Their apostles fasted. We have Yeshua as our Lord, as our Savior, as the son of God, the Divine Son of God, and as our Rabbi as well, and we have to follow Him. He kept these holidays, and we should keep the same holidays, especially as Jews.

Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles

The third holiday that is coming is Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, where people leave their homes and go and live in a makeshift structure. The the wind comes in, the rain comes in, and at night you can see the stars through the roof that is made out of palm branches. Some people live in rich houses, some people live in poor houses, but on Sukkot, all of us are equal, because we eat and sleep in the “sukkah” (booth) itself.

I wish all of you a happy holiday season, a happy Jewish New Year, a year that will bring fertility to you at work, at home with your children, with your families, a year that will bring blessing to you, to your countries, to your congregations, to your communities, and in your jobs, a year that will remind you that we are all like fiddlers on the roofs.

Nothing in this world is actually stable except our faith in God and in Yeshua our Messiah. May God bless all of you. Have wonderful celebrations, have a joyous time, and enjoy the appointed times of the Lord, the feasts of the Lord, as they did in the days of the apostles and in the days of Yeshua. Enjoy them and celebrate in Yeshua’s name. Amen.