Lets continue our dialogue on the holiday season here in Israel. Yesterday finished Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and now we are headed toward another big holiday: Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement.
But even today, the day after the New Year, it is a holiday of sorts.
It is known as a day of fasting called The Fast of Gedaliah. Gedaliah, was the Jewish governor of Judea who was murdered. He was appointed by the Babylonians after they captured Jerusalem in 586 BC. You can read about it in II Kings 25:22-25. The fast goes from sunrise until sunset, and special
scriptural readings are recited during points of the day.
Now there is always a single Sabbath, known as the “Sabbath of Repentance”, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is the Sabbath where those timeless words are uttered from Hosea (14:2); “Return,
Israel, unto the Lord your God.”
There are always ten days between the New Year and Yom Kippur, including Yom Kippur, and these are known collectively as “The Ten Days of Repentance”.
Jewish tradition sees this window of time as a time of judgment when all people and nations are called to account for their deeds of the past year, and when their particular fates for the coming year are decided.
For us as Christians there is a lot that can be pulled from all this, but mainly it is the big fact that Christ was our sacrifice to atone for our sin. His Love, even before we knew Him, has now opened the way for us to live – not under the fear of the law – but the life of grace.