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Looking seriously back at the past

29 January 24

The Jewish New Year takes place on different days in September or October, according to the Jewish calendar, and the purpose of its celebration is different from the civil New Year.

Our main goal is to give an account of our behaviour during the past year, to make a deep search into our souls and minds, to express our desire for a better future for all humanity and to ask the Almighty for forgiveness. Therefore, our Rosh Hashanah (New Year) prayer book (Machazor) is loaded with prayers and requests.

These include a special command­ment of the blowing of the Shofar (Ram’s Horn) to ask the Almighty to take into account the merit of our forefather Abraham who was willing to follow God’s commands faithfully with no questions asked. The morning Service of Rosh Hashanah takes about six hours.

This passing year we find the world in unexpected turmoil, some by human activities and some by the act of God as revealed in the laws of nature. Humans cannot find answers how to stop the destruction heading their way nor can man change its course but must suffer the consequences which bring misery and death upon its victims. On the other hand, in human conflicts there are means and ways to stop hostile activi­ties through pre-emptive negotiations or other solutions.

When we witness the tremendous inventions in many fields for improving human life, we admire the wisdom the Almighty has given to selected people. Some of the inventions are used for good beyond our wildest imagination and some for the destruction of humans. The good and the bad mingle together but as we know, it is easier to destroy than to create.

A civil New Year should not be designed for celebrating without self-control, but most importantly should be used to subdue the negative attitudes within the depths of our minds and souls.

The wise person, however, will acknowledge that the New Year of Rosh Hashanah is the time of judgement for all peoples on the face of the earth, regardless of their location.

So, at all times, as thinking individu­als, we must be aware of our obligations to ourselves, to others and to the Almighty. The formula of hap­piness is to think of these and with God’s help the world will be a happy place.

 By RW Bro Rabbi Dr Samuel Tov-Lev December 2017 Freemason Magazine

Below - A Shofar – a musical instrument with its roots in ancient history. Typically made of ram’s horn, it is commonly used in Jewish religious Ceremony. The Shofar lacks pitch-altering devices and as such all pitch control is done by the player.


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