Afinkle221's Blog


Christian Response to the Shofar’s Call

Posted in Uncategorized by afinkle221 on February 28, 2011
Tags: , , ,

Arthur L. Finkle

The Shofar had several religious roles recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:28); the announcement of the New Moon (Psalms 81:4); the beginning of the religious New Year (Numbers 29:1); the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 25:9); the procession preparatory to the Feast of Tabernacles (Mishnah, Hullin 1:7); the Havdalah ceremony marking the end of a festival (Mishnah, Hullin 1:7);and other uses mentioned in Hebrew Writings (Mishnah and Talmud) after the fall of the Temple in 70 Common Era (CE).

Rosh HaShanah
The Shofar is primarily associated with Rosh HaShanah. Indeed, Rosh HaShanah is called Yom T’ru’ah (the day of the Shofar blast). “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you.” (Numbers 29:1) [ This is 1 Tishrei, which is Rosh HaShanah, the Hebrew New Year.] See also Leviticus 23:24). .

In the Mishnah (book of early Rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), a discussion in Tractate Rosh HaShanah centers around the centrality of the Shofar in the time before the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.O. Those debating never experienced the ceremony itself but their grandfathers may have. Indeed, the Shofar was the center of the ceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemn holidays, fasts, and New Moon celebrations, two silver trumpets were featured, with one Shofar playing a lesser role. The Shofar is also associated with the Jubilee Year in which, every fifty years, Jewish Law provided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of the Shofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the Jubilee Year that provided the actual release of fi¬nancial encumbrances.

Jubilee Year

The legislation concerning the year of Jubilee is found in Leviticus, xxv, 8-54, and xxvii, 16-24. It contains three main enactments:
• rest of the soil;
• reversion of landed property to its original owner, who had been driven by poverty to sell it; and
• the freeing or manumission of those Israelites who, through poverty or otherwise, had become the slaves of their brethren.
Ten days after Rosh HaShanah, at the Yom Kippur service it reads. “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years.” See Leviticus 16:29, 23:27.

Further, the Scriptures herald: Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. See Lev 25: 9
New Moon

The new moon offering comes before the Rosh HaShanah offering, because that which is brought the most often has precedence (Yad, Temidim 9:2).

The Israelites and the subsequent Jews celebrated a lunar calendar intercalated so that the seasons are correct. New moons were extremely important. Accordingly, the Shofar was sounded upon the occurrence of the new moon. (Numbers 29:11; Rosh HaShanah 1:1). The Talmud tells us that this custom was discontinued when the Samaritans attempted to disrupt this system of sounding from mountain to mountain announcing the new moon.

Scripture further proclaims the sounding on the appearance of the new moon:
And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance forever throughout your generations.
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. See Numbers 10:10.

Finally we have the famous passage in PSALMS 81:3: “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”
Rediscovering Jewish Christian Heritage
Relationship
God did not visit Abraham for religious purposes. Moses did not go up on the mountain to get religion, but to meet with and hear from God. Jesus did not come to earth to make us religious but to restore us to relationship with God. It’s all about relationship.
http://www.who-is-god-really.org/shofar.html

Indeed, Existentialism has captured Christian theology throughout the 20th mid-century. Following in the steps Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger made human existence his since the 1920s, and Karl Jaspers in the 1930s. Human relationships
Enhance humanity by interacting with one another in a spiritual way. The sparks of each soul contributes to a whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Jewish Biblical Roots

Others flock to their Jewish biblical roots because they want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the disciples. They celebrate the Jewish holidays that Jesus celebrated and tend to refer the Holy Temple celebrations that were extent in Jesus’ time. They tend to be highly structured that predominates in the American culture. They want a more authentic religion.
ACTS 2:2: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
2:1-4 They [disciples] had prayed more together of late. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high, let us be all of one accord. And notwithstanding differences of sentiments and interests, as there were among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands his blessing. A rushing mighty wind came with great force. This was to signify the powerful influences and working of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, and thereby upon the world. Thus the convictions of the Spirit make way for his comforts; and the rough blasts of that blessed wind, prepare the soul for its soft and gentle gales. There was an appearance of something like flaming fire, lighting on every one of them, according to John Baptist’s saying concerning Christ;
http://bible.cc/acts/2-2.htm
On Rosh HasShana, the shofar-like blast coming from the Throne of God, calling us to return to the simplicity of the faith as it was originally given to us. It is a call to pursue God out of love, not religion. The gospel of Jesus Christ is anything but religious. It is about relationship.
The gospels, the Psalms or the Prophets bespoke ordinary people living extraordinary lives. They were down-to-earth, hearty and knew how to touch God. They were able, through their daily connection to Him, to change the course of battles, rescue whole nations out of slavery, heal the sick, even raise the dead.
The Resurrection of the Dead even as we wait to hear the trumpet blast of the king, the great shofar of our returning Redeemer, we celebrate the appointed time of the Rosh Hashanah. The annual blast of the shofar during the Feast of Trumpets foreshadows that day when the heavens will be rent by the blast of Messiah’s trumpet. For disciples of the Messiah, Rosh Hashanah is a reminder of that appointed time yet to come when the Master “will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)

Responding to the Shofar’s Call reveals how this change took place. These Messianic Jewish Christians posit that the Jewish religion of closeness to and love God was hijacked by the Greek philosophers, who have an enormous persuasion on the Earth Church Fathers. Indeed, Ambrose, Chrysostom and Augustine. The philosophizing took the authentic nature of love out of the equation. Instead of relying on outdated, hellenize3d creeds, the Jews continue to question the ways of God and the ways to lead a better life.

What we are involved in is a culture war. The true biblical culture of the believer is Hebraic in nature. There is nothing wrong with demonstrating a biblical culture and yet being comfortable and natural in our own nation’s culture—as long as it is our biblical culture which dominates us and as long as the national cultural characteristics are not harmful to our faith and walk in the Lord.
True Hebraic culture is what Jesus demonstrated. Jesus was perfectly comfortable in His own skin as the holy Son of God and as a Hebrew who was practical and simple. He didn’t theorize and theologize. He didn’t seek after or exalt knowledge. He exalted those with a humble heart who lived out what they believed. He was capable of reaching out to and befriending those who were in a sinful state—a worldly culture— like the tax collectors and “sinners,” without ever becoming like them. http://www.who-is-god-really.org/shofar.html

Footsteps of Jesus and the Disciples

Others flock to their Jewish biblical roots because they want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the disciples. They celebrate THE Jewish holidays that Jesus celebrated and tend to refer the Holy Temple celebrations that existed in Jesus’ brief earthly time.
To a professional trumpet player, the ‘call of the shofar’ signifies:
• Truth (2 Chronicles 15 v.14)
• Repentance (Joel 2 vs. 1 + 15)
• Obedience (Jeremiah 6 v.17)
• A call to worship God (Isaiah 27 v.13, Revelation 1 v.10 )
• Restoration
• Sanctification
• The Joy of Trumpets
|Ryan Malone, September 8, 2010, http://www.thetrumpet.com
The sound of the shofar could be joyful blasts heralding a king. In fact, five references of shofar in the Old Testament refer to coronations—namely those on the throne of David. The blast of the seventh trumpet angel heralds the coronation of Jesus Christ to return to the throne of David and assume rulership of all the kingdoms of the Earth! (Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 9:7). What joy that means for God’s people!
This angelic trumpet blast also indicates war. (Revelation 11:18). Jesus, Himself said that, at His Second Coming, “shall all the tribes of the earth mourn …. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matthew 24:30-31).
Also when the seventh trumpet sounds, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, the dead in Christ will be resurrected! The sound of the trumpet will initiate the first resurrection. John 5:28 says “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” God’s voice is likened to a shofar blast in Exodus 19:16-19 (and in the New Testament: Revelation 1:10; 4:1). Even God’s prophets throughout history were symbolically to use their voices like trumpets (Isaiah 58:1). By lifting their voices like trumpets, God’s prophets were emulating God’s voice! Today, when we trumpet this warning that is a type of God speaking.
Until that point in history, God’s voice will have been trumpeted through His work. But finally, on this day, God will speak—and, just as at Mt. Sinai, it will be an earthshaking event.
http://www.thetrumpet.com/index.php?q=7357.5930.0.0

A Spiritual Weapon with Revival Power

Shofar is the Hebrew word for a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. Most places in the Old Testament where the English translation is trumpet, the Hebrew word is ‘Shofar’.

We believe that God has given us a revelation that we wish to share with the Body of Messiah. We believe this will add a new dimension to our prayer and spiritual warfare. The Lord has revealed the spiritual dynamic of the use of the Shofar or Ram’s Horn as used by the Israelites in the Old Testament times. We don’t fully under- stand the power of it, why or how it works – but it works !

The Lord led us to the story of Gideon (Judges 7). As is the pattern throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites again turned away from God after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah’s victory over Canaan and were allowed to be attacked by the neighboring Midianites and Amalekites. God chose Gideon, a young man from an otherwise unremarkable clan from the tribe of Manasseh, to free the people of Israel and to condemn their worship of idols. God sent a reluctant Gideon and 300 warriors to battle with a heavily armed enemy of thousands. However, He instructed Gideon to go out with a pitcher and torch in one hand, and a Shofar in the other hand. At the appointed time, the 300 blew their Shofars in unity, which firstly caused restlessness in the enemy’s camp, resulting in their total confusion; turning and killing each other with their swords. We also see in the story of Joshua that he too, won the war by blowing the Shofar. A similar episode occurred at Jericho. The Holy Spirit revealed that, blowing the Shofar brings about some cosmic effect.

In the Bible, the blowing of the Shofar was first heard when God called Moses to the summit of Mt. Sinai to receive the tablets of the Law. And, it will be sounded at the end of days to announce the Return of the Messiah and the Rapture of His Bride. ( 1 Thess 4:16 )
Biblical Blowing of the Shofar.

1 Thess 4:16 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the Shofar of God and the dead in Christ shall rise.”
A Shofar will be blown before the dead rise:
1 Cor 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last Shofar; for the Shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

http://opentheword.org/index.php/forgiveness/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=341:blow-the-trumpet&catid=99:sound&Itemid=265

1 Corinthians 15:52 states: “ . . . in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
The Shofar (trumpet) is the sound of God’s voice.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Revelation 1:10
John Was Heaven Sent by the sound of the Shofar.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. Revelation 4:1
Seven trumpets (Shofar) are sounded when God judges the earth during the tribulation.
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound the shofar, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. Revelation 8:1-10:7

Acts 2:2 states: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. “ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary comments:
2:1-4 We cannot forget how often, while their Master was with them there were strifes among the disciples which should be the greatest; but now all these strifes were at an end. They had prayed more together of late. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high, let us be all of one accord. And notwithstanding differences of sentiments and interests, as there were among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands his blessing. A rushing mighty wind came with great force. This was to signify the powerful influences and working of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, and thereby upon the world. Thus the convictions of the Spirit make way for his comforts; and the rough blasts of that blessed wind, prepare the soul for its soft and gentle gales. There was an appearance of something like flaming fire, lighting on every one of them, according to John Baptist’s saying concerning Christ; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. The Spirit, like fire, melts the heart, burns up the dross, and kindles pious and devout affections in the soul; in which, as in the fire on the altar, the spiritual sacrifices are offered up. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than before. They were filled with the graces of the Spirit, and more than ever under his sanctifying influences; more weaned from this world, and better acquainted with the other. They were more filled with the comforts of the Spirit, rejoiced more than ever in the love of Christ and the hope of heaven: in it all their griefs and fears were swallowed up. They were filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they had miraculous powers for the furtherance of the gospel. They spake, not from previous though or meditation, but as the Spirit gave them utterance.
http://bible.cc/acts/2-2.htm.

Conclusionary Remarks

We have taken a journey into Christian theology in which the shofar symbolizes the voice and power of God in His guidance to our present and future. By adhering to the Old Testament, we receive a different perspective of the New Testament, as it was intended.

Advertisements

Water Willow Dance – Hoshana Rabba Its Christological Significance

Posted in Uncategorized by afinkle221 on February 20, 2011

Water Willow Dance – Hoshana Rabba

Its Christological Significance

Arthur L. Finkle

In reading the tractate Succah, both Palestinian and Babylonian, we come across some fascinating social history regarding the role of the shofar in the ceremonies of the Holy Temple.

We learn that part of the Succot ceremony is celebrated today insofar as dwelling in the sukkah and handling the lulav (palm branch), etrog (related to the lemon and indigenous to Israel), myrtle branch and water willow branch (Arava).

Two important ceremonies, however, were not carried over from the rites of the Holy Temple on Succot: the Aravot Ceremony and the Water Libation Ceremony.

In this article, we will discuss the Water Willow Dance, performed on the seventh day of Succos. This ceremony eventually was transformed by the Rabbi’s into Hoshana Rabba on the same day of Succos.

Water Libation Ceremony

The Water Libation Ceremony was performed each day of Succos. The rationale teaches the Jewish people to bring water before Him on Succot, petitioning for adequate rains, paramount to the success of an agricultural society. (Succah Bavli 37; and RH 16a). Another interpretation from the Midrash (book of ethical stories and interpretations) is that the lower waters were sad when God separated the waters to upper and lower. Their distress was noted by God that the lower waters would be elevated during this season. (Rabbaynu Bachya to Lev 1:13)

The Water Libation ceremony was an elaborate ritual emitting great joy, in fulfilling of Is. 12:3: ”You shall draw water with joy from the wellsprings of salvation.”

The Rabbi’s in Yerush. Succah 31b (Palestinian) give a social history of the role of the shofar in the Holy Temple, with particular emphasis on Succot. Further, the Rabbis agreed that the Water Libation Ceremony is Scriptural) See Bavli Zevachim 110b)

Aravot (Willoow Branch) Ceremony


The Mishnah (Sukkah 4:5) indicates that the custom was to circle the altar one time on each day of Succos and seven times on the seventh day (similar to Joshua’s circling of Jericho). So too we circle the Bimah one Hoshana each day of Succos and seven Hosannas on the Seventh day.

Jonatan Adler discusses this ceremony as he describes ancient coins which depicted this ceremony. The depiction shows the golden flasgon used to gather the water from the well of Sheloah; a willow branch

“What was the rite of the willow-branch? There was a place below Jerusalem called Motza. The Talmud indicates that Baavli Talmud cites that city to be Kalonia. Because it was tax-exept, the trees were ownerless; thus, there was no taint of theft involved. See Meiri Bavli 45a.

They went down to there, and collected young willow branches, and then came and set them upright along the sides of the altar, with their tops bent over the top of the altar, after which the trumpets made a long blast, a quavering note, and a prolonged blast”. These trumpets were sounded by Kohanim (Priests) See Num. 10:8,9 and Mishnah Succos 5:6.

With reference to what we have learnt, ”’Every day they walked round the altar once, and on that day they went round seven times”‘, your father, citing R. Eleazar, stated: “[This was done] with the lulav (BT Sukkah 43b Soncino translation). This statement was challenged by contemporary sages, who held that the altar was encircled while holding willow-branches, and not the “four species” (ibid.); See also 1. L. Rubenstein:The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods, Atlanta, 1995, p. 109, who writes: “Most likely the circumambulations were performed with willows – the description says nothing of the lulav but we should not advance solid historical claims where the traditions are silent”.  M Sukkah 4: 5, The statement by R. Johanan b. Baroka (M Sukkah 4: 6) regarding the beating of palm fronds should be seen as complementing this tradition (Rubenstein, above, n. 7, p. liS). Jonatan Adler, ,The Temple Willow-Branch Ritual Depicted on Bar Kokhba Denarii, Israel Numismatic Journal, 16 (2007–2008), pp. 129–133

Afred Ederssheom also concurs with the ritual s of this ceremony. Alfred Edersheim, http://philologos.org/__eb-ttms/temple14.htm#Tabernacles

The Mishnah indicates that, to prepare for the Sabbath restriction of carrying, they gathered the branches the day before and placed on the altar. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/etm/etm076.htm

The Yerul. Gemara 23b stated  Motza was free from taxes. (The, itself, means exempt from taxes.)  These branches were 11 amos high (c. 400 ft.)  and placed near the altar. The altar was 9-amos.

The Yersul. Talmud, in Succah 24a describes the ritual. The priests, even those with blemishes, performed the Arava ceremony in the Temple, which required them to circle the altar one time for the first six days of Succos and 7-times on the 7-nth day of Succos, in remembrance of the Joshua’s encirclement of Jericho. (Only priests were allowed into the ante-chamber area.)

Because the priests had to enter the Antechamber adjacent to the altar area, the Rabbi’s ruled that for the Arava ceremony, R. Yehuda indicated that priests with blemishes were allowed because such a regulation was Rabbinic in nature and could be changed by the Rabbi’s.

An interesting note is that the Pharisee maintained that priests could enter the Temple cited in the Tractates, Parah, Kipuurim and Succos. The Sadducees opposed this holding. Yersul. Succah 27a.

It should be also noted that, although most trees in ancient Egypt were not considered holy, the willow tree was the primordial tree on which the sun rested in the shape of a bird at the beginning of the world. The Metternich Stela makes a connection between the tr-tree, apparently the willow, and the benu bird.

It was sacred to Osiris and gave shade to his coffin while his soul rested on it in the guise of the phoenix. In some versions of the myth it was the willow which grew around the coffin protecting it, in others it was the persea.

Trees were possibly less important in the Egyptian religion than in others. But some trees had divine connections, being home, birthplace or resting place of some deities. In the temple at Denderah one inscription proclaims: The names of the sacred trees are jS.t, kbs, tr. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/botany/willow.htm

Shofar

The Bavli Succah (45a) discusses the mitzvah of “Arava” (willow branches). It states that during the time of the Beit HaMikdash the priests would go down on Succot to a place called Motza that was below Yerushalayim and there they would cut large willow branches. They would then bring the branches to the Beit HaMikdash and lean them against the side of the altar, with the top part leaning over the top of the altar. They would then blow the shofar in the standard fashion, with one broken sound (teru’ah) preceded and followed by a solid sound (teki’ah).

Although the Rabbi’s disagreed over the exact time this ritual began, they concurred that the Prophets instituted this custom. Thus, it was not likely occurring in the Frist Temple but was in the Second Temple.

The Rabbi’s taught that willows of the brook mean of special type of willow as opposed to the zafzafah which grows in the mountains. (Bavli Talmud, Sukkah 34a)

Accordingly, the Rabbi’s decreed the seventh day of Succos as Hoshana Rabba, the day of many Hosannas (petitions for salvation);  the time that the Book of Life and Death are finally sealed.

Although trees in Egyptian culture did not have extraordinary significance, it should be noted that the Willow tree in Egypt, a primordial tree on which the sun rested in the shape of a bird at the beginning of the world. The Metternich Stela makes a connection between the tr-tree, apparently the willow, and the benu bird:

It was sacred to Osiris and gave shade to his coffin while his soul rested on it in the guise of the phoenix . In some versions of the myth it was the willow which grew around the coffin protecting it.

http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/botany/willow.htm

Water: Special Significance

Why was a special offering of the water willows brought on the last day of Succos?

The Talmud (Bavli, Rosh Hashana 16a) writes that as the world is judged for water on Succot, we bring a water offering so that the rains for the coming year should be blessed.  Water was the lifeblood of the Israeli agricultural society. Petitioning adequate water was a prayer to further one’s livelihood.

Another reason is that the holiday of the harvest moon (on which Succot begins) occurs five days after Yom Kippur in the harvest season. During the harvest season, a person may become haughty and forget God. The Rabbi’s reflect that haughtiness affects not only farmers, of course. The wise may take credit for their knowledge and those of fine character may take credit for their graces. The bottom line is that all we get, whether it be money, wisdom, or respect, comes from God

http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/sukkos/vol3no21.html

The Succos 4:5 indicates that the shofar blew three times (tekiah, teruah and tekiah) right before the priests circled the altar. Again the shofar was featured to draw attention to an important festival.

The Rishonim Sages from the 11th through 16th centuries) explain that the reason that this is specifically done on the seventh day of Succos is as follows: Succos is the Day of Judgment for water. This means rain and, in a broader sense, all livelihood. We therefore add special prayers to ask for a good year. The Gemara records a dispute as to whether this is a prophetically ordained custom or not, but we do know that it traces back to the Holy Temple.

Transition of Water Willow Dance to Hoshana Rabba

The name for this holiday probably comes from Psalm 118:25. Hoshana means to save. This is the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It comes one day before Shimini Atzeret. It is usually observed on the 21st day of the Hebrew month Tishri. It is also called “the great Hosanna.”

  • This practice in the Temple serves as the basis for our modern custom of Hosannas. As reported by The TUR (14th century German-Spanish Legalist, in Orech Chaim 660), we circle the bema once a day with a Torah being taken to the bema (a practice based on the Yalkut Tehillim) and thus serving as the focal point and in place of the altar. We also bring a Torah to the middle since during the time of the Holy Temple the marchers would recite the name of God while walking, and we have a tradition that the entire Torah is made up of various names of God. According to the Yerushalmi (Palestinian Talmud), our current practice reflects not only what was done during the time of the Temple, but also is meant to mimic the siege and conquering of Jericho in the time of Joshua, when they circled the city once a day for six days and seven times on the final day, causing the walls to come tumbling down (Joshua 6).

R. Joseph Caro (compiler of the Code of Jewish Law, 1565) notes that on Hoshana Rabba (seventh day of Succos), even a person who does not have the four species (palm branch, myrtle, water willow and etrog) should take part in the seven laps around the Torah. His rationale is that since there is a special remembrance of what was done in the Temple – see Succah 41a for more on this concept). The common practice is that a person who does not have the four species never takes part in the walking around the bima.

Rav Feinstein (mid-20th century) also notes that there is a custom to recite the Hosannas after Additional Service where in the Temple there was an additional sacrifice on special days, including the festivals. He gives a simple reason for this order – since one is obligated to read from the Torah and say the additional service, but the Hosannas are simply a custom, it is logical that obligations should precede customs. The Bach (1586-1657 ) offers a second reason. The Mishnah concludes that after the Hosannas on Hoshana Rabba everyone would leave for home while praising the altar. The implication is that the Hosannas were the last thing done in the Holy Temple before people departed, and thus we also make them the end of our services every day before departing for home.

The Order of the Hoshana Rabba Service

The Night

The Mogen Avrohom records that the custom was to stay awake on the night of Hoshana Rabba.  Commentators indicate that we read the eno9re Torah, Deuteronomy (as a review of the other 4-books) and the Psalms. (The Avudraham; R. Isaac Luria, (Arizal)

The Morning

The Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) cites a custom brings a Mintage to loosen the bindings of the Lulav so that the water willow is freed.

The congregants circle the Bimah seven times instead of the usual one. In some congregations they blow the Shofar after each circuit.

Hoshana Rabba is the Hebrew name given to the last and greatest day of Hag HaSuccos, the Feast of Tabernacles. Due to the mechanics of the calendar, …
http://www.betemunah.org/hoshana.html

Hoshana Rabba became recognized as an official judgment day in modern Judaism when the Zohar (13th century Kabala) declared it. During the worship service it is common to see congregations march around their worship room seven times (similar to Joshua marching around Jericho). Psalm 118 is chanted and when verse 25 is sung, and after the seventh cycle around the room, the worshipers take the willow branches that they have been carrying and strike the ground with them until the leaves fall off. This is symbolic of the worshiper beating their sins away.  Sometimes these palm branches are saved and used to build a fire to burn bread just before Passover.

Conclusory Observations

We have found the rhythm of the Jewish Fall holidays from Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succos as series of vitally important holidays to the pulse of the Israelite in the days of the Holy Temple. Rosh Hashana began the religious year. Yom Kippur was the Day of Atonement not only for individual but also communal sins.  Succos was the fall festival of paramount importance in the agricultural society.

We also observed the importance of the shofar. Rosh hashana is the festival of the shofar. Yom Kippur sounds the shofar at the end of the service, originally to announce the Jubilee Year. Succos, to petition God for abundant rains and consequent harvest, the shofar was utilized, particularly for the Water Libation Ceremony and the Water Willow Dance.

We also observed the role the synagogue has replaced the Holy Temple as mean for worship. No longer do we make animal and meal sacrifices. We have kept the intent of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. And we  have spiritualized the festival of Succos to one of petition for our agricultural needs, to one of remembrance and thanksgiving. Further, Hoshana Rabba celebrates the closing of the book of accounting.

Christological Significance

Dr. Moody believes that the celebration OF Feast of Tabernacles will help bring world peace. In the future Feast of Tabernacles, God will celebrate this feast. Indeed, everyone will celebrate the Succoth during the Messianic Age. (Zechariah 14:16-17).

Isaiah 11 describes this coming age:

  • Ferocious animals are at peace with meek lambs.
  • The earth is filled with the knowledge of God as waters cover the sea.
  • Yeshua, the root of Jesse (Son of David), is a banner for all people.
  • Ephraim, those Israelites now scattered in the nations, dwells in peace with Judah, the Jewish people.
  • Together, they conquer the enemies of Israel and establish her biblical borders.

In preparation of the Messiah, Dr. Moody instructs hosfollower sto to build a backyard sukkah andwave branches and fruits.

Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles fulfills Leviticus 23:34-43, and helps prepare for the millennial reign of Messiah on earth! This chapter explains how to celebrate with traditional prayers, menus, and recipes.

http://vmoody.com/feasts/tabernacles/