Posted in Torah

Learning from the Mo’edim – Yom Kippur 2015

This post builds on the basic assumptions listed in Learning from the Mo’edim

Yom Kippur 2014

Last year on Yom Kippur, I went for fasting from food and water. The best I could understand was this is was a big day, and that the goal was to be humbled and atoned for. I was confused a to which day it was going to be, and if I recall right the jewish calendar had some connection to the sighted moon.

It was miserable. I have done a lot of fasting at times, but it is always hard for me the first day or so. I usually have to work my way into them. A recent fast I did on water was 3 weeks. But I have tricks and ways to get my body ready. For jsut 1 day, I dont have much ability to do it well.

I really dont recall a lot more than “Boy I hope net year I understand what is going on better”. Honestly all I got left with was basically a bit of a mess. Because there is no temple, there is no priesthood, and not external things that help inform me in this, it honestly seemed like quite a disappointment. Im felt a bit ripped off and just stumbling around in the dark with nothing more than my immediate experience.

Ive learned from experience that it is ok to stumble around, it is ok to not understand or get it, and it is ok to ask YHVH for understanding and help. I had a period of time (years) where I really didnt enjoy the weekly Sabbath. I had to tell God that in fact, I somewhat hated it, I was bored, and couldnt wait for it to be over. I knew I was missing something critical, and asked Yahweh for help. And it sure did!

Yom Kippur 2015

This year it is quite different, and my faithful Elohim (I could almost cry writing that) is helping me for sure. While nothing is earth shaking, it is so helpful. Here are some things that are worth noting that made this Yom Kippur interesting.

Yom Teruah 2015 had a big part to play in this.

This year, for us, Yom Kippur ends and the weekly Sabbath begins.

The day before, we made a concerted effort to prepare. We took seriously this was a sabbath sabbaton. Not sure if Im spelling it right. But this is a Sabbath and NO WORK should be done. We do that anyhow, but somehow there seemed to be an emphasis on avoiding even common things like making lunch etc… so my wife made things for the kids in advance. I dont have a problem making food on weekly Sabbath, as long as it isnt to mush effort, or is fun, or special. But this one seemed different.

Im not fasting water. Im not sure I buy that anyhow. I have been somewhat minimal with it, but I dont want to hate this day. Im not yet able to engage the day while going without food and water. Im not trying to get away with anything, or just not have a hard time. It jsut took all the interest and connection to lay around exhausted an dmiserable.

I am going without food from sunset to sunset. It isnt too bad. I did take a nap, and I am hungry (it is about 230 pm). Ive done enough fasting that I am not in panic. I have a lot of compassion for people who have a hard time fasting. I get it. Im terrible at it. But I keep trying.

Im not checking my phone, and Im trying to avoid internet. Im watching Torah teaching as Im writing this, but I don’t want to get lost in looking at the web.

I think the most interesting thing, and hardest to explain, is a paradigm shift.

Yom Kippur is always couched in a day of somber, dry, sad, harsh context. I have always seemed to interpret it that way. Maybe I’ve been wrong, but it just seems like this is a big, bad, hard day. And the High Priest goes in, freaking out that he might die. God is so big, bad and heavy (which is kind of true) and everyone is lucky if we get out ok this year. It is like super tense, and high stakes.

Yesterday it occurred to me how badly YHVH wants to make atonement for me. That the whole point of the day isn’t to rub my nose in my failure.  Don’t get me wrong, I need to be confronted. I easily set things aside, minimize things. And they are SIN. Im missing the mark. Im int he WRONG.

But the point really is, that in spite of all this, the whole idea of this holiday is that I WILL BE ATONED FOR IN YHVH’s EYES! Not only is my God so highly motivated to help me stand before, and with God in right standing, God is going to provide a way for me to have it. That fact alone changes the whole concept. In fact, it confuses me as to why there is fasting! This should be a party. I hope ti understand it better next time.

But this means that the results of atonement are the goal. The atonement itself is a means to an end. The goal of this day is not the even that happens on it, but the results of it. When Israel gathered before the tabernacle or the Temple, and the High Priest went through these processes, the result was they wer restored to right standing before Yahweh. All the sin, defilement, anything wrong or off was set right. At that very moment, nothing was standing between them and their mighty one.

This is a big deal to me. Im aware of a lot of failure. The last several weeks Im being confronted with things that just are not acceptable going forward. I need God’s help to see it. But I need God’s help even more so to engage God, and receive forgiveness and atonement.  And I don’t have to beg. I don’t have to panic. All I have to do is obey, show up, and receive. And this is an act of faith. It isnt the legalistic working of the ritual itself, it is the fact that I believe what God says will happen. This ritual is accepted and transformed into righteousness for me because God said so!

I wish I could explain it better. I dont understand if I just added what is basically an almost Gothic context for this day. Maybe I made it up. I ran with my own self hatred, and used it (yet again) as a way to use Gods “name” to be negative. It isnt like I deserve the fruit of my sin. But I colored in this day based on my own brokenness. But what I feel like Yahweh is showing me is that Yom Kippur is like a pivot point. It turns the things around itself, and we go into the next holidays, as well as the next year, in a different state. I can walk out of today connected.


Another thought about the fasting is tied to the wanderings in the desert. It appears that God actually made the people hungry and thirsty. This wasn’t coincidental. YHVH lead them so far out int he wilderness, with such a large group of people and animals that it was basically impossible to sustain them. It required a miracle.

But I believe that God made them hungry on purpose to teach them. It wasnt to punish them. He was trying to explain something very directly. And they missed it. They were mad at Moses. They asked Moses what HE was going to do to find them meat.

Same with the water. They were thirsty, and being thirsty is no joke. Hungry is hard, thirsty is impossible. Within 3 days you are basically done for. God led them out there, and made them experience thirst with no obvious means of fixing the problem. They demanded water, from MOSES.

In both cases, the slave mindset had trained them to look to a master, not God, for a solution. I believe God was testing them, an showing them their dependence. But I believe this was specifically because God wanted to MEET THEIR NEED. Yahweh wanted them to both experience the reality, and connect with YHWH about it.

Yah had a plan, but the people couldn’t find a way to believe Yah was able or even cared. Yahw as trying to demonstrate they didnt just live by bread, but b everything that comes from Yah.

I think in voluntary fasting, we get ourselves pulled right back to this experience. Of course we can just go make some food, and for most of us immediately drink clean water. But the idea of putting myself back into distress, reminds me and forces me to turn towards Yah. And that counts for the sin problem too. It is death. Hunger and thirst is eventualy death. Im NEED Yah to provide me with the solutions, and they can only come from Yah while I am wandering around in a desert. And this world is becoming more and more like a barren desert to me.

Im am unashamedly a “Messianic”. I believe Yeshua is the Messiah of YHVH. When Yeshua was here the first time, salvation was worked for me. I receive it be engaging it by faith, and od will justify me at the end of the Age. I both engage Yom Kippur (so far) as the setting for the work of Yeshua. Yeshua has made the ability for me to be forgiven.  And thankfully, it was done before there was no more Temple!

But the scripture tells us this observance of Yom Kippur is forever, to all generations. So I need to practice this forever, but I also need to then engage it  within the context of how Yeshua has begun to fulfill this, and how Yeshua will complete it. How badly I needed it, How capable Yeshua was to provide it, and how much YHVH desires me to atone for me and bring me to YHVH.

I know some people say Yeshua fulfilled the Spring Feasts, but not the Fall feasts. I can see that. So there is more to learn and experience. Perhaps this hasnt been totally done yet, but it certainly has been provided for by Yeshua. Hopefully Ill learn more nextyear.




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