Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 

“Maurycy Gottlieb – Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur” by Trodel is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This year, 2021, Rosh Hoshana fell on September 7th and 8th and Yom Kippur on the evening of September 15th into 16th

Rosh Hashanah marks the birthday of the world at creation. Traditionally symbolic foods are eaten such as apples and honey as a gesture to ensure a “sweat new year” and other symbolic foods

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. When the ancient temples stood in Jerusalem, the priests were purified from sins between human beings and G-d, and in the course of history all Jews view this holy day as a time of atonement.  

The readings in the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur include: the binding of Isaac and the book of Jonah. 

The binding of Isaac raises the question of Providence (hashgaha pratit) and free will (behira) in the verse, “now I know that you fear G-d”. The liturgy for the days of awe however notes that Jews can change their “fate” via repentance, charity, and prayer. 

The people of Ninevah in the lifetime of the prophet Jonah do repent, which is keeping within the theme of Yom Kippur.  

Touro College Libraries has resources on the Jewish holidays, including readings chanted in synagogues, in library guides parasha shavua and Hagim. Maps and ancient Near Eastern archeological findings for example Ninevah’s excavation. Artists may enjoy from the Jewish arts the aesthetic depiction by Micrography, the Ship of Jonah (1897) and artistic representations of the Akedat Yitchak.  

Resource Links: 

Jonah PowerPoint (for maftir day of Yom Kippur) 

Binding of Isaac PowerPoint (for 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah) 

Yom Kippur and Hannukah video 

Binding of Isaac video  

Parashat ha-shavua (the weekly torah reading) and Hagim (festivals) 

post contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Lander College for Women Library

Resources for the High Holidays on the Touro College LibGuides

The Touro Libraries research guides provide High Holiday resources, not only in the library guide known as parasha ha-shavua (the weekly torah reading) and Hagim (festivals), but also through additional guides on various topics, including links to online resources for archival research and education. In 2020, Rosh Hashanah falls on evening of September 18th.

The High Holidays within the context of all the Jewish holidays in the organization of the Jewish calendar are represented throughout Touro College Library Guide resources.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

For example, one sketch raises the question of whether the symbolic foods eaten on Rosh Hashanah is merely symbolic for the rational contemplation vs. theurgic supernatural mystical act championed by the Hasidim, which the Rambam as a deontological ethicist might warn risks being a form of delusional theurgic magic.

A second link examines the metaphor of the book on the High Holidays particularly in the Unetanneh Tokef (a Hebrew prayer by Rabbi Amram of Mainz) sung in the synagogues, that states to the effect, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur sealed and implies based on a Talmudic text, on hoshanah rabbah the angels deliver the blueprint to Hashem’s heavenly Temple archive” and the importance of the reverence and cherishing of text in general in general for Judaism.

A third link explores both in Powerpoint form related to the guide on the Jewish arts as the last slides are fine art representations of this event in Genesis 22, and a written sketch of the akedat yitchak known as the “Binding of Isaac” which is chanted on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, raises the question of Providence (hashgahah pratit) vs. free will (behira) and G-d’s foreknowledge (yediah) and is the topic of midrashim found in the Cairo Geniza.

A fourth link of a Powerpoint considers the afternoon reading known as maftir yonah on the day of Yom Kippur, from the perspective of Biblical archeology excavations of ancient Ninevah, cartography, and close textual analysis, among other topics. Ethics is a theme of the book of Jonah in that the Ninevites must repent. On Yom Kippur, we repent our ethical failings in the communal Al chet prayer where one gives a din ve-heshbon (accounting) before the heavenly court in business ethics and in general Jewish ethics, ethical monotheism that Avraham revealed when he left Ur of Chaldea. Up until today in online ethics by applying the laws of forbidden gossip (Hilchot issurei loshon ha-ra) by the Chofetz Chaim and applied in case law to social media.

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash

The fifth set of resources relate to the book of Koheleth chanted on the festival of Sukkot, which raises the important question of the nature of time in all its dimensions. One link shows that striving to dwell poetically in time is the essence of being in the sukkah, whose construction requires that the roof (sakh) allow one to see the stars causing wonder, expressed in King David’s Psalm eight. Other links examine Koheleth themes in the afterlife, and further ideas of Nachmanides knowledge of shemitah ha-olamot.

This post was contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Lander College for Women

Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

Jews praying in the synagogue
Maurycy Gottlieb: Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday, September 18th and conclude the evening of Wednesday, the 19th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

(Updated with 2018 dates and new picture.)

Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

(source)
(Yom Kippur)

Yom Kippur aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday October 11th and conclude the evening of Wednesday the 12th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown