Wednesday, 13 September 2017
The Siddur (prayer book) for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is called a Machzor. The first Hebrew letter, Mem, identifies the word as a noun. So what does Chozair mean? It means "return". This command to return to God (repent) is the theme of these first 2 fall Feasts (although the second one, Yom Kippur, is actually a "fast" until it ends) of the Lord.
Most of the prayers are called prayers of Selichot (repentance), which is an interesting word. It is the plural of Selicha meaning "excuse me" or "pardon me". So, prayers of Selichot are prayers of many "excuse me"s. We are praying through the Machzor that God will excuse or pardon our transgressions.
This raises a question. If we have been saved by Yeshua, why do we need to pray the prayers of asking forgiveness? Although we are forgiven, still, we are commanded to repent. Is repentance a one-time experience, or should we be quick to repent whenever necessary? As the King James Version states, "Thou knowest."
We pray selichot, not as a matter of eternal salvation, rather we offer selichot to obey God’s calendar. Also, we honor His designated season of corporate and personal repentance. The selichot prayers are exhaustive, mentioning every possible type of offense we may have committed individually or corporately. As we pray them, God brings to our minds various ways we have sinned against God or against each other. We must repent for sins against God to God and likewise, repent for sins against man to man.
An Isaiah 30 God is very critical of unrepentant Israel, then in the middle of verse 15 we read, "By repentance and rest you are saved." Is our repentance enough? No, it is a beginning. Acts 3:19-20 "Repent, therefore, and return - so your sins might be blotted out, so times of relief might come from the presence of Adonai and He might send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you."
Yeshua is the way of access to God. John 10:7 "So Yeshua said again, 'Amen, amen I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.'"
Listen to the sound of the shofar and hear the voice of Yeshua. He is calling us to repentance.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,