Like talk about something fun today – and step away from the politics of the moment here in Israel because this weekend begins the Jewish New Year!
Rosh Hashanah is the two-day Jewish New Year. When we open our Bibles we can read about it's observance in the Book of Leviticus 23:23-25. It's a two day holiday that begins at sunset tomorrow. For the religious Jews, both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.
This is the holiday in the calendar year where one has the blowing of the shofar (the rams horn) during morning prayers – but not on the Sabbath.
Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs. The first is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be “sweet.” The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the “casting off” of the previous year's sins.
You can find out about this Old Testament practice in Micah 7:19 “…and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”.
We know this as a comforting verse in our Christian belief because… our sins were cast off – being nailed to the cross with Christ.
Any of those sins, would bring death – but by the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead – we now have a sure hope of sins forgiven – and there's a clear river of life flowing!
That's the good news of the Gospel – and a great way to start any new year!
Middle East Correspondent