The Fall Feasts of Israel, the most important appointments of the biblical calendar, are just around the corner.
These three feasts: The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), hold great biblical, historical, and prophetic significance for believers in Yeshua (Jesus) as they point to the events surrounding His second coming (This will be explained more fully in my next article for Standing With Israel). The sixth month of the Hebrew calendar, the month of Elul, (beginning August 16th this year) is traditionally a time of spiritual preparation as Jewish people anticipate these upcoming High Holy Days.
One of the customs that is practiced during this time is the reciting of Selichot, special prayers for forgiveness, also said on days of fasting. In the Sephardic Jewish tradition, these prayers are said throughout the month, whereas in the Ashkenazic Jewish tradition, they are added to the morning synagogue services near the end of the month. These prayers continue throughout the High Holy Days as individuals consider the profound issues of life and death, sin and forgiveness.
The significance given to these prayers in traditional Jewish thinking shows up in the three levels of forgiveness which people hope to attain. Traditionally, these levels are identified by three Hebrew terms: selichah (pardon), mechilah (wiping away), and kapparah (atonement). They are all related to forgiveness, but each has its own shade of meaning.
In Israel, a common word for “pardon” or “excuse me” is selichah. This is the first step a person takes if a sin has been committed, whether against God or man. One asks for forgiveness, saying to the offended party, “I am sorry for what I did; I sincerely regret having done it, and will never do it again.” It is considered cruel not to accept a person’s sincere apology.
Mechilah is usually translated as “wiping away,” It is a response to the request, “Can our relationship be as it was before I offended you?” At this level, the relationship gets a “reset button.” It is more difficult to accomplish than selichah, but not impossible.
Kapparah is usually translated as “atonement,” (as in the Day of Atonement). This level of forgiveness is the deepest of all as it deals with a person’s guilty conscience. It is recognized that only God can heal and comfort the conscience of a person. In traditional Jewish circles, “kapparah” completes this three-part process on Yom Kippur.
What can truly bring the deepest level of forgiveness between man and God? We remember how the people of Israel sinned at the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai when they created and worshipped a golden calf. Beginning in the month of Elul, Moses prayed to God for Israel’s spiritual restoration. God’s favorable response was to provide a new set of tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, and to renew His Presence in the people’s midst.
Read more: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/standing-with-israel/51019-israel-prepares-for-its-high-holy-days-and-the-messiah-s-return