Ten days of Awe

According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah the destiny of the righteous, the tzaddikim (צַדִּיקִים), are written in the Book of Life (סֵפֶר הַחַיִּים), and the destiny of the wicked, the resha’im (רְשָׁעִים), are written in the Book of Death (סֵפֶר הַמֵּתִים). Most people, however, won’t be inscribed in either book, but are given ten days — until Yom Kippur — to repent before sealing their fate. If a person turns to God and makes amends to those whom he has harmed, he may be given another year to live in the following (Jewish) year. On the other hand, if he does not repent, then the decree will be given that he will die during the coming year… In other words, though the books are “opened” on Rosh Hashanah, our deeds during the first ten days of the new year will determine whether we are written in the book of life or the book of death. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are therefore accorded special sanctity and are called Aseret Yemei Teshuvah – the “Ten Days of Repentance.” These are days that call for sincere personal repentance (i.e., תְּשׁוּבָה, “turning to God”) so that the divine decree will be given for our good…. As Abraham Heschel wrote, “No word is God’s final word. Judgment, far from being absolute, is conditional. A change in man’s conduct brings about a change in God’s judgment” (Heschel: The Prophets, 194).

Written by

Vivamus vel sem at sapien interdum pretium. Sed porttitor, odio in blandit ornare, arcu risus pulvinar ante, a gravida augue justo sagittis ante. Sed mattis consectetur metus quis rutrum. Phasellus ultrices nisi a orci dignissim nec rutrum turpis semper.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply