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Christian Response to the Shofar's Call

Christian Response to the Shofar's Call

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Published by Finkle Art
Christian Response to the Shofar's Sound investigates Chrisitans who go to their Jewish roots
Christian Response to the Shofar's Sound investigates Chrisitans who go to their Jewish roots

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Published by: Finkle Art on Feb 28, 2011
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02/28/2011

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Christian Response to the Shofar's Call
Arthur L. Finkle
 
The Shofar had several religious roles recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures,such as the transfer of the Ark ofthe Covenant (2 Samuel 6:15; 1Chronicles 15:28); the announcement of the New Moon (Psalms 81:4); thebeginning of the religious New Year (Numbers 29:1); the Day of Atonement(Leviticus 25:9); the procession preparatory to the Feast of Tabernacles(Mishnah, Hullin 1:7); the Havdalah ceremony marking the end of a festival(Mishnah, Hullin 1:7);and other uses mentioned in Hebrew Writings(Mishnah and Talmud) after the fall of the Temple in 70 Common Era (CE). 
Rosh HaShanah
The Shofar is primarily associated with Rosh HaShanah. Indeed, RoshHaShanah is called Yom T'ru'ah (the day of the Shofar blast). ³And in theseventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holyconvocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowingthe horn unto you.´ (Numbers 29:1) [ This is 1 Tishrei, which is RoshHaShanah, the Hebrew New Year.] See also Leviticus 23:24). . In the Mishnah (book of early Rabbinic laws derived from the Torah), adiscussion in Tractate Rosh HaShanah centers around the centrality of theShofar in the time before the destruction of the SecondTemple (70 C.O.Those debating never experienced the ceremony itself but  their grandfathers may have. Indeed, the Shofar was the center of theceremony, with two silver trumpets playing a lesser role. On other solemnholidays, fasts, and New Moon celebrations, two silver trumpets werefeatured, with one Shofar playing a lesser role. The Shofar is alsoassociated with the Jubilee Year in which, every fifty years, Jewish Lawprovided for the release of all slaves, land, and debts. The sound of theShofar on Yom Kippur proclaimed the Jubilee Year that provided the actualrelease of financial encumbrances. 
 
Jubilee
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 The legislation concerning the year of Jubilee is found in Leviticus, xxv, 8-54, and xxvii, 16-24. It contains three main enactments:
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rest of the soil;
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reversion of landed property to its original owner, who had beendriven by poverty to sell it; and
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the freeing or manumission of those Israelites who, through povertyor otherwise, had become the slaves of their brethren.Ten days after Rosh HaShanah, at the Yom Kippur service it reads. ³Andthou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times sevenyears; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven sabbaths of years,even forty and nine years.´ See Leviticus 16:29, 23:27. Further, the Scriptures herald: Then shalt thou make proclamation with theblast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. See Lev 25: 9New Moon The new moon offering comes before the Rosh HaShanah offering,because that which is brought the most often has precedence (Yad,Temidim 9:2). The Israelites and the subsequent Jews celebrated a lunar calendar intercalated so that the seasons are correct. New moons were extremelyimportant. Accordingly, the Shofar was sounded upon the occurrence of thenew moon. (Numbers 29:11; Rosh HaShanah 1:1). The Talmud tells usthat this custom was discontinued when the Samaritans attempted todisrupt this system of sounding from mountain to mountain announcing thenew moon. Scripture further proclaims the sounding on the appearance of the newmoon:And the sons of Aaron,the priests, shall blowwith the trumpets; andthey shall be to you for 
 
an ordinance forever throughout your generations.Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and inthe beginnings of your months, ye shall blowwith the trumpets over your burnt offerings,and over the sacrificesof your peaceofferings; that theymay be to you for amemorial before your God: I am the LORDyour God. SeeNumbers 10:10. Finally we have the famous passage in PSALMS 81:3: ³Blow up thetrumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.´
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RelationshipGod did not visitAbraham for religiouspurposes. Moses didnot go up on themountain to getreligion, but to meetwith and hear fromGod. Jesus did notcome to earth to makeus religious but torestore us torelationship with God.

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