Friday, August 21, 2009

Rosh Hashanah and Judgment

We began our preparations for the high holy days by considering the proclamation of God's kingship at Rosh Hashanah, and what making such a proclamation requires of us. In fact, it doesn't take long to discover that the central theme of Rosh Hashanah in Jewish practice is the theme of judgment.

Jewish scholar Reuven Hammer writes:
The notion of judgment is nowhere mentioned in the Torah in connection with Rosh Hashanah. What, then, inspired it? When we examine the psalms connected with a possible ancient New Year celebration, we see that they already embody this concept. After describing the proclamation of God as king, Psalms 96 and 98 conclude with the idea that God is coming "to judge the earth; He will judge the world in righteousness and its peoples in faithfulness." In God's role as judge and ruler of the world, God is responsible for judgment. There is, then, a direct ideological connection between the New Year, marking the beginning of God's reign, and the idea of a godly judgment of the earth. (Entering the High Holy Days, p.22)

Next week we will continue exploring the history of Rosh Hashanah practices. Until then...Shabbat Shalom!

1 comment:

Rabbi Joshua said...

Yasher koach on your blog! I'm looking forward to more of your great posts in the future!