Friday, October 7, 2016

L'Shana Tovah! Happy New Year 5777!

L`Shona Tovah!  Happy Sweet New Year! 5777

First steps to braiding a round Challah!

Round Challah is said to represent circle of life, circle of sweetness, the Crown for the King! Dip the apples and the challah into honey!

Happy Sweet New Year!!
It's been such a wonderful 'homecoming' to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, for the first time in seventeen years in Japan!

Rosh Hashanah is known as the Jewish New Year although it's actually the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar.  It comes from Yom Teruah, the feast of blowing shofarot (the plural of shofar)  in Leviticus 23:23-25, and has also come to be referred to as The Feast of Trumpets.

"In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a Shabbat rest, a memorial of blowing  (shofarot), a holy convocation. You are to do no regular work, and you are to present an offering made by fire to ADONAI."
  ADONAI's instructions to Moses for the people of Israel, from Leviticus 23:23-25, TLV

Every thing about the holiday from the blowing of the shofar, to the sweetness of the food, to the special customs like going to the river (I went to the moat of the castle, our nearest body of water) to cast out our sins, to the special week which it begins of taking time of prayer and repentance, has indeed been filled with AWE! Actually another name for these Holy Days which lead up to Yom Kippur on the Kingdom Calendar are the Days of Awe.

I gave New Year Postcards to some friends here where I live in my community in Japan.   When I gave a card to my friend Etsuko, she exclaimed, 5777?!  I told her that is the year we are in on the Hebrew Calendar.  Then she also took interest in the words, L'Shana Tovah, and I told her they were Hebrew for Have a Good Year.  She looked at the picture of a shofar and had absolutely no idea that it was an instrument or anything about it at all.  It was exciting to be able to share the culture that I am from and that she knew nothing about, like a whole new world opened just from the postcard!!  After so many years in Japan where people so generously share things with me about their country, I am excited to start to share about where I am really 'from'.

In all the years we celebrated Rosh Hashanah growing up, I  never knew that this is also a feast to celebrate the creation of the world!  And of course most of all the Creator of the Universe.  Another thing I learned about the Fall Feasts, High Holy Days, is the concept of Teshuvah, which means "return".  When we repent and return to our Creator, our King it can also be a special time of rejoicing.  Even as we are approaching and preparing for a more solemn time of repentance at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, there is so much joy in the return.  Some people say once we are saved, why celebrate all the holidays as we are forgiven of our sins in Yeshua.  Its true He is our Salvation, yet because of that it makes us see even more the beauty of these days and what that Salvation means.  I feel like a child in this season, looking through new eyes to obey, honor and delight in God's commandments from returning to Him through Yeshua.

Making the round first round challah.  Redemption. Forgiveness and the anticipation of His return.  Casting our sins in the depth of the sea and opening our hearts and eyes to the wonders of creation.  Those are some of the things to celebrate as we feast and fast in this season of awe.

Who is a God like You
pardoning iniquity,
overlooking transgression,
for the remnant of His heritage?  He will not retain His anger forever, 
because He delights in mercy.                  --Micah 7:18

He will again have compassion on us.  
He will subdue our iniquities,
and You will cast all our sins
                          into the depths of the sea.           --Micah 7:19
when doing my first `Tashlich` of casting our sins into the depth of the sea, I looked into the sea and saw the wonders of God`s creation...

Shabbat Shalom!

The earth is full of the love of ADONAI.
    ---Psalm 33:5 TLV

credit note & thanks: I made the Challah in this post and the challah in the post above from this recipe for Honey Apple Challah on Tory  The blog author there makes it so beautiful.  Mine still needs practice, but it was delicious and very fun to try the braiding,  the recipe is great and easy to follow!

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