Bamidbar Twenty-Nine: Holiday Sacrifices

Now, we have some holiday-specific sacrifices. The first is for Rosh Hashana. “And in the seventh month, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work. It shall be a day of shofar sounding for you (Numbers 29:1).” There is a burnt offering, and a meal offering, and a sin offering. Then, we have Yom Kippur. “And on the tenth day of this seventh month, there shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall afflict your souls. You shall not perform any work (Numbers 29:7).” What’s interesting to me about this manner of describing Yom Kippur is that it isn’t described as a time of fasting, which is what it is mainly associated with today, but rather as when we afflict our souls. This seems like it could manifest in any number of ways, so I’m wondering when/why we chose fasting to represent this. Next, we have Sukkot. “And on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, there shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall not perform any mundane work, and you shall celebrate a festival to the Lord for seven days (Numbers 29:12).” As Sukkot is a longer holiday, we are given specific offerings for each of the days.

“These you shall offer up for the Lord on your festivals, besides your vows and voluntary offerings, for your burnt offerings, for your meal offerings, for your libations, and for your peace offerings (Numbers 29:39).” Based on the description of the sacrifices, each holiday has multiple layers and things that we’re meant to be considering. Right now we’re still a few months away from the season of chagim that Jews celebrate in the early fall. It can be hard to stay mindful with one on top of the other, but with each holiday having so many pieces, I want to try to treat each one with the intention that it was initially given.

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