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"Days of Awe" - Custom and Ceremony

The False Pagan Adoptions!

                           THE JEWISH FESTIVALS

From the book " The Jewish Festivals" by Hayyim Schauss,
published in 1938.

                                DAYS OF AWE

                 (The days between Trumpets and Atonement)


New Year Greetings

     One of the main observances of the Jewish New Year is the
expression of the wish that one's fate be inscribed and sealed in
heaven for a successful and happy year. This wish is expressed
both personally and through cards, which bear the inscription,
L'shonoh Tovoh Tikosevu V'sechosemu (may you be inscribed and
sealed for a good year). These cards are called, for short,
L'shonoh Tovohs. Since the Jewish New Year stretches from Rosh
Hashonoh till Hoshano Rabboh, the cards are sent throughout the
     The text of this Jewish greeting for the New Year comes from
the belief that God judges the entire world on Rosh Hashonoh and
decrees the fate of all. This belief is first recorded in the
literature of the Tannaim, a product of the second century. "All
are judged on Rosh Hashonoh and their fate is sealed on Yom
Kippur," are the words attributed to Rabbi Meir. This is
amplified as follows:

"Three books are opened on Rosh Hashonoh. One is for the
out-and-out wicked; a second for the truly righteous; and a third
for those in between. The righteous are at once inscribed and
sealed for life; the wicked for death; judgment on the middle
group is suspended till Yom Kippur. Should one of that group
attain merit during those days then he is inscribed for life;
otherwise for death."

     ***It must not be thought, however, that this belief was
created then, in the Tannaitic period. The Babylonians held such
a belief long before the very beginning of Jewish history. We
must accept the fact, then, that this belief came to the
Jews from the Babylonians in olden days, even before the
Babylonian Exile.*** It is also true, however, that it took a
long time before this belief was accepted by all Jews.

     ***The ancient Babylonians believed that the fate of the
world is decided anew in heaven every year. According to the
religion of the Babylonians it was done not by one god, but at a
meeting of all the gods, held yearly in a room in heaven called,
"The Room of Fate." According to this belief, Marduk, chief of
the gods, led this meeting and Nabu, god of wisdom and
literature, and the messenger of the gods, acted as secretary,
and recorded all things on tablets. It was he who carried with
him the tablets of fate, on which the judgment for all was
inscribed at the New Year.***

     ***We have here, in a Babylonian version, the Jewish idea of
Rosh Hashonoh as a day of judgment. Various other Jewish
observances were found amongst the Babylonians. For instance, in
the New Year services in the Temple of Marduk, the god was
declared king and creator of the world, and the High Priest of
the temple recited the account of the creation of the world in
front of an image of Marduk.***

(Ah yes, are you seeing where the teachings of the Jews during
these so-called "days of awe" were coming from? They were coming
from BABYLON!! - Keith Hunt)

     But, despite the fact that in this or that detail Jews were
influenced by the Babylonians, Rosh Hashonoh has an entirely
different content from the Babylonian New Year. When we compare
the two New Years we first see clearly the unique and original
road traveled by the Jews in their spiritual life. To do this we
must first study the New Year festival of the Babylonians.

(Hummm, okay, the Jews put their own twist on things from Babylon
- Keith Hunt)

     The Babylonians observed their New Year not in the fall, as
did the Jews, but in spring, in the first days of Nisan, and the
observance lasted about two weeks. This was the festival during
which they celebrated the resurrection of Marduk and his wedding
to the goddess, Sarpanitu. Marduk represented in himself the sun,
or rather the eternal forces of nature through which the world is
resurrected every spring after the slumber of the winter. Since
Marduk did not represent spirituality, as did the Jewish God, but
nature, which grows and multiplies, it is natural that the
Babylonians celebrated on the New Year his marriage to a goddess.
Not only Marduk, but the gods of all other peoples, with the
exception of the Jews, had goddesses by their side.
     The Babylonians began their New Year ceremonies with a
dramatic presentation on earth of that which transpires in the
heavens. They brought the images of all their gods to one room in
Marduk's temple, a room which they designated as the "Room of
Fate." The most important ceremony of their New Year was the
religious procession in which they carried Marduk in his holy
chariot through a certain street, a street which was lately
uncovered in the excavations in Babylon.
     We can see, then, that Rosh Hashonoh has very little
relationship to the Babylonian New Year. A much closer
relationship exists between the Babylonian New Year and the
Christian Easter, during which the resurrection of a demigod is

(Yes, maybe in the literal as to the WHEN; Easter is also taken
from the false Babylon and other false religions of the world.
Two wrongs do not make a one right - Keith Hunt)

Table Delicacies As Omens

     It is an old Jewish custom to set sweets on the Rosh
Hashonoh table and to avoid eating sour. This presages the
sweetness of the coming year, and no Jewish table lacks a dish of
honey or syrup on Rosh Hashonoh, the day before Yom Kippur, and
Sukkos. The sweet is spread on the first slice of bread with
which the meal is started.
     This custom is based on an ancient magical belief that every
activity calls forth its counterpart. For instance, if one brings
bread into a new dwelling, bread will never be lacking there; if
one pours water at the beginning of the year, especially on an
altar, there will be ample rain the coming year; and if one eats
sweet dishes at the beginning of the year, sweetness will abide
for the entire year. This is an old primitive belief, widespread
amongst all peoples. A similar custom, based on the same
principle, is to eat the head of some animal on Rosh Hashonoh,
for a head represents greatness and leadership.

(More adoptions from paganism in Jewish custom and ceremony -
Keith Hunt)

The Shofar

     There is no ceremony so characteristic of the Rosh Hashonoh
festival as the blowing of the shofar. Even before the day was
known as Rosh Hashonoh it was called, Yom T'ruoh, the day of the
blowing of the shofar.
     It has already been noted that not only on Rosh Hashonoh,
the first day of Tishri, but on the first of every month,
trumpets were blown. These trumpets were called "chatsotsros,"
and were evidently artists' instruments, made of silver. The
"shofar," however, is a natural wind instrument, one of the
oldest known to the world.
     In the old days the "shofar" was used as a musical
instrument by Jews at various religious ceremonies, but, its most
important use was to intimidate the enemy, to declare war, and,
in general, to make proclamations to the people.
     The origin of the custom of blowing the "shofar" on the
first of every month, and especially loudly and alarmingly on the
first day of the seventh month, is not entirely clear. We have to
take for granted that this custom once was connected with the New
Moon ceremonies and was bound up with various other ancient
conceptions and beliefs. Later new ideas and meanings were read
into it.
     The oldest reason for blowing the "shofar" is presented in
the Pentateuch. There it is mentioned as a means of asking God to
remember man. This is a later interpretation of an
old custom, the ancient meaning of which had been forgotten. In
still later times further symbolic thoughts were read into the
custom of blowing the shofar. It had double importance for Philo,
the Greco-Jewish philosopher, from both the national and
universal viewpoints. In the first place, he said, the "shofar"
was a reminder of the giving of the Torah. Secondly, he pointed
out, the "shofar" was the signal given on the battlefield to
advance and retire. Blowing the "shofar" is, therefore, a call of
thanks to God, who halts the war between the nations and the
struggle among the elements of nature, thus bringing peace and
harmony to the world.
     The Talmud states that the "shofar" is blown in order to
confuse Satan, so that he will not bring his charges against Jews
before God on the day of judgment. Hearing so much "shofar"
blowing, Satan believes that the Messiah has arrived and the end
of his power on earth has come.
     Even later, in the Middle Ages, various interpretations and
meanings continued to be given regarding the "shofar." A historic
reason for the blowing of the "shofar" on the first day of Elul
was even figured out. It was declared that on the first day of
Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the second time, and he blew
the "shofar" as a reminder to Jews not to err a second time, and
not to make another golden calf. Originally, apparently, the
"shofar" was blown only on the first day of Elul, as a signal of
the approach of the month that precedes the days of penitence. It
was only later that the custom of blowing it during the entire
month of Elul was instituted.

(Certainly God did institute the blowing of the trumpet on the
new month days and the Feast of Trumpets. The Jews only to a
point could connect the "trumpet" blowing with the events in the
books of the prophets, for the very end of this age into the age
to come. And because they would not accept Christ as the Messiah
and the New Testament writings, they could never come to see the
trumpts of the book of Revelation-  hence many various meanings
of their own mind did they come up with, as you have just read
about - Keith Hunt)


     The custom of going to a body of water on the first day of
Rosh Hashonoh (or on the second day when the first day is
Saturday) is usually explained on the basis of casting the sins
into the depths of the water, expressed in the passage of Micah
read there. It is obvious that the custom did not grow out of the
citation, but the passage was quoted because of the custom. How
the custom originated was no longer known, nor was there any
desire to know the origin. So a new meaning was sought for it, a
meaning that would be in keeping with the Jewish spirit and
Jewish belief. Such a meaning was found in a certain passage in
     But this interpretation did not please all. It did not seem
sensible, to some Jews, to go to a stream on Rosh Hashonoh
because of a biblical phrase. They, therefore, evolved another
interpretation, one even less tenable. According to this second
interpretation, the reason for going to a stream on Rosh Hashonoh
was explained as a reminder of Abraham's attempted sacrifice of
     In the Bible story of the sacrifice of Isaac there is no
mention of a stream. The stream enters the story in the tales of
the Midrash. The homiletical expounders of the Bible altered the
tale considerably, and made of it a form of drama, based on a
wager between God and Satan, such a wager as is found in the Book
of Job.
     According to this tale Satan wagered that Abraham would not
stand the test made of him to offer his only son as a sacrifice;
he therefore tried to hinder Abraham in every way. When he saw
that Abraham was intent upon making the sacrifice he turned
himself into a deep stream, over which Abraham could not pass. On
seeing this, God reproved the stream and it dried up.
     For this reason, said the Gaon of Vilna and, centuries
before him, the famous Rabbi Jacob ben Moses Halevi, known by his
abbreviated name, Maharil, Jews go to a stream on Rosh Hashonoh,
to remind God of the merits of Abraham and Isaac.

(Once more we see a tradition that became forgotten as to its
original origin [certainly not in the Bible] and then a new idea
given to it, to cloak it with some "godly religion" - much the
same as the Roman Catholic faith adopted false pagan customs and
sprinkled them with their "holy water" to say they were now
Christian - Keith Hunt)

     The Maharil was the greatest German rabbi at the end of the
fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries. He died
at Worms in 1427. In the famous Book of Customs which carries his
name, Tashlich is mentioned and strict orders are given that no
crumbs of bread should be thrown to the fish when Jews go to the
stream on Rosh Hashonoh.

     We learn two things from this. First, that in that time, in
the fourteenth century, it was already a German-Jewish custom to
go to Tashlich; second, we see that an important part of the
ceremony was the casting of crumbs into the water. Some Jews
shake their pockets into the stream to this day at Tashlich, but
it is not the customary usage. It is apparent, however, that in
olden days all did it, and the shaking of the crumbs out of one's
pocket was of paramount importance to the ceremony.
     We see now that in the custom of Tashlich lies the ancient
and primitive conception of giving the devil a gift, so that he
will do no harm. It was the old belief that evil spirits dwell in
streams, in wells and springs, and the best way to placate them
is to offer them gifts.
     That each stream is the home of a spirit who is lord of the
stream is an old superstition that is still widespread. It is
said of every stream that it demands a human victim each year,
not the stream actually, but the evil spirit that dwells in it.
Bread was, therefore, cast upon the water each year, in an effort
to placate the evil spirit.

(No wonder Jesus denounced the Pharisees for their tradtions that
made void the law or commandments of God. Alot of their
traditions were either made up from their own minds or borrowed
from the pagan nations around them; so it is with much of modern
Christianity - Keith Hunt)

     In addition to this idea of casting bread to the evil
spirit, there is also the primitive idea behind Tashlich that a
certain object or living thing could carry off with it, to the
depths of the sea or to the furthest reaches of the wilderness,
all sins and woes that beset man. In the Tashlich ceremony it is
apparently the fish who are to accomplish this.

     These two primitive conceptions were already inherent in the
"scapegoat" idea, the goat sent to the Azazel, and they both
appear in the Tashlich ceremony. Jews cast their bread on the
waters and also shook their sins into the stream. This latter
custom we learn from Rabbi Isaiah Hurwitz, who lived toward the
end of the sixteenth century. This famed Rabbi and Kabbalist
mentions in his book, "The Two Tablets of the Covenant," that
Jews practice the custom of shaking their pockets into the
stream, thinking that they can thus shake off their sins. He
protests violently against the custom, declaring that it is a
desecration. His own interpretation of the Tashlich ceremony is
that Jews go to a fish-bearing stream as a reminder that man
himself is like a fish, and just as likely to be ensnared and

(Well, more ideas from more of making up your own religion to
worship God with - which the Lord denounces in Dueteronomy 12 -
Keith Hunt)

     When the Tashlich custom originated amongst Jews is not
certain. It is first discussed in the fourteenth century in the
book of the aforementioned Maharil. But one is not to judge that
the custom therefore arose in the fourteenth century. It is more
likely that it was practiced earlier by certain Jews and that in
the fourteenth century, it was first adopted by the mass of Jews.
In fact, a form of Tashlich, which was combined with a form of
Kaporos, was practiced by the Babylonian Jews in the time of the
     It was then the custom for Jews to weave baskets out of palm
leaves and fill them with soil and earth, and to plant beans or
peas in them fifteen or twenty-two days before Rosh Hashonoh. On
the day before Rosh Hashonoh the basket was waved about the head
seven times, the pronouncement being made that this was to serve
as a substitute for the man, and the basket was then thrown into
the river. 
     Similar customs and habits have been found among other
peoples. It is a custom in certain sections of India to cram
all sins into a pot and throw it into the river. In Borneo and
Siam it is the yearly custom to load everybody's sins and woes
into a boat and to send it far out into the sea.
     In time, as was pointed out, Tashlich lost its ancient
significance for Jews. New ideas and thoughts were attached to
the custom and it became merely a symbolic ceremony.


     Much older than the Tashlich ceremony is the ceremony of
Kaporos, practiced with a fowl before Yom Kippur. It was already
a widespread custom amongst the Jews of Babylonia in the tenth
century. In that period richer Jews performed the ceremony with a
ram, as a reminder of the ram of Isaac, but the rooster prevailed
over the ram and was generally used.
     The Kaporos ceremony is to be found not only among Jews, but
among many peoples, for an old belief, a primitive conception
that was common to most peoples, forms the basis of the custom.
     The belief is that it is possible to transfer illness, pain,
or sin to a living thing or to a lifeless object, as, for
instance, a stone or stick. The belief still persists among
primitive and semi-civilized people.
     The primitive man does not differentiate between the
spiritual and the physical. The primitive man, therefore,
believes that just as it is possible to transfer a stone or a
piece of wood from one man's back to another's, so can sin and
pain be transferred. Prehistoric man understood nothing about the
world around him, and attributed everything to the spirits which
he believed resided everywhere. The stone and the tree, the
stream and the swamp were all living things to him. In each
resided a spirit, good or evil. He believed that by magical means
he could influence the spirit, triumph over the manifestations of
nature, and perform all kinds of miracles.
     One of the magical procedures that primitive people used was
to disturb the evil spirit, to get him to move to another place,
no matter where, thus releasing the person to whom he had
attached himself. In addition the primitive man thought out an
endless number of rituals and enchantments to forestall ill
fortune, sin, and woe by transferring them to a proxy, who would
suffer in his stead.
     The belief that inert objects can become the agent of man
and absorb woe and misfortune is found also among Jews. When a
costly dish breaks, people often comfort themselves by saying,
"It doesn't matter. May it be a Kaporoh for all of us." It is
believed that were some accident fated to happen to a member of
the household the dish becomes the proxy of man, takes over the
misfortune, and is thus broken.
     Woe and misfortune and evil are much more easily transferred
to living creatures than to inert objects, especially fowls; and
of all fowls the rooster and the hen always played the greatest
role in the superstitious beliefs of people the world over. A hen
or rooster, when sacrificed, it was believed, would not only
placate the evil spirits, but would also frighten them. Evil
spirits shun the light, and it is the rooster who scares them
away when he crows in the morning and announces the first light
of day, according to popular belief. According to the ancient
Persians the rooster was created for the purpose of driving the
devils away.
     There was another reason for ascribing a magical nature to
the rooster - his big, red comb. The color red, in the
superstition of many peoples, keeps the devils away. The devil,
by the way, in Jewish lore, had the feet of a rooster. And, as
the rooster had magical powers, some of the same power was
transferred to the hen.
     The hen and the rooster to which man transfers his sins,
are therefore a sacrifice which is offered to the devil. They are
also, at the same time, a means of frightening and chasing away
the evil spirits. There are various conceptions regarding the
color of the Kaporos fowl. The devil, as all know, is black. Many
people believe that the magic used against the devil must be of
the same color as the devil, and many others believe just the
opposite. Jews, for instance, prefer to perform the ceremony with
a white fowl. They, of course, interpreted the use of a white
fowl, as a symbol of the release from sin. This is, however, a
later interpretation; originally the whiteness of the fowl was
obviously a means of frightening the black devil.

(Need I say any more? How man has invented his own religion to
worship God with is here clearly being shown to us - Keith Hunt)

     The custom of swinging the fowl about the head is part of
this same primitive attempt to frighten the devil.
     The Kaporos ceremony, it seems, arose first among the Jews
of Babylonia and from them it spread to the Jews of other lands.
Many great rabbis warned the people against the practice of the
custom. Rabbi Solomon ben Adrath, for instance, who lived in
Spain in the thirteenth century, absolutely forbade the practice
of the custom in his community, Barcelona. Nachmanides, too,
branded the custom as one of idol-worshipers. Rabbi Solomon ben
Adrath admitted, however, that, according to what he had heard,
all the rabbis of Germany practiced the custom. Rabbi Joseph
Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, the code of laws accepted by
Orthodox Jews, branded Kaporos as a stupid custom. On the other
hand, Rabbi Moses Iserles, in his "Remarks" to Joseph Caro's
book, approved of the custom, which was, by that time (the
sixteenth century), already strongly entrenched amongst the
German and Polish Jews.
     It seems that, before the widespread acceptance of Tashlicb,
Kaporos was not confined solely to the day preceding Yom
Kippur; in some places it was also performed the day before Rosh
Hashonoh. Some pious Jews observed the ceremony twice, before
Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kippur. It was only later that it was
decided that Tashlich was to be performed before Rosh Hashonoh,
and Kaporos before Yom Kippur. The Jews of Morocco, however,
observe Tashlich on Yom Kippur.

     Jews sought to make every custom that they borrowed from
other peoples distinctively Jewish and, bit by bit, they made
Kaporos a distinctly Jewish custom. They sought to imbue it with
a Jewish spirit, with a spirit of social morality. Among the
heathen the Kaporoh fowl is always destined for the devil; among
Jews, however, it is not thrown into a stream or driven into the
wilderness but donated to the poor. Only a specified portion, the
entrails, are cast on the roof to be carried off into the woods
by the birds. Even into this custom, a moral interpretation was
introduced. The hen, it was said, is a robber, eating and pecking
at everybody's food. The fruits of this robbery, contained in the
entrails, is what the birds carry off.

Kol Nidre

     The custom of having one's self flogged on the day before
Yom Kippur is an ancient one. It was already practiced in the
time of Rashi (died 1105). The custom of seeking remission of
vows on the day before Rosh Hashonoh or Yom Kippur is, on the
other hand, of later origin.
     The reciting of Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur eve originated in
the time of the G'onim. It is not yet certain how it originated,
nor why the Yom Kippur service should begin not with prayer, but
with a plea for the remission of vows. We do know, however, the
following facts about Kol Nidre: Kol Nidre is first mentioned in
the ninth century. It was not recited in the Talmudic academies
of Babylonia, because the G'onim were against it, labeling it a
foolish custom. It was not whole-heartedly adopted in Spain
either. Originally it was available in two languages, Hebrew for
the learned, and Aramaic for the masses. At first the text called
for the remission of vows committed during the past year; and
only later was the text changed to read: "from this Yom Kippur to
the next one."
     We do not know, with any certainty, in what time, in what
country, or under what conditions Kol Nidre first appeared. But
two things are certain: that it arose in oriental countries in
the time of the G'onim; and that it had nothing,to do,
originally, with the secret Jews, with Jews upon whom baptism was
forced, as was at one time presumed.

     In actuality, Kol Nidre plays a very small role in the Yom
Kippur ceremonial. Not the words, but the melody of Kol Nidre is
important. This wonderful and stirring melody has made such an
imprint on the observance of Yom Kippur eve, that the evening is
often referred to as "The Eve of Kol Nidre." The tune of Kol
Nidre originated in a far different land and at a far later
period than did the words. The melody first appeared among the
Jews of southern Germany some time between the middle of the
fifteenth and the middle of the sixteenth centuries. The S'fardim
and the Jews of the Orient do not use the melody of the
Ashkenazic Jews, but recite it to the chant of S'lichos

     For a number of centuries Kol Nidre dominated the Yom Kippur
eve services. Only in the nineteenth century did the Reform Jews
of Western Europe and America revolt against it. In some Reform
communities a new prayer has been written to replace Kol Nidre,
and in others the Yom Kippur eve services are begun with the
reading of Psalm cxxx. This is not a new custom, however, but a
reversion to an old custom. For, before Kol Nidre appeared, the
Jews of Palestine used to start the Yom Kippur services with a
reading from Psalms ciii and cxxx.


There it is in all its ugly glory! A lesson for all true people
of God. The religious Jews are as full of pagan customs and
ceremonies as are most of the Christians, especially the Roman
Catholic religion. While the Jews maintain the form of the
Festivals of the Lord, they have not understood them becuase they
will not accept Christ as the Messiah, and His New Testament;
then added to that they have allowed themselves to adopt and
adapt pagan rites and customs, adding to many of them their own
ideas and theology, hence making up their own religion and
worship towards God, as they moved through the centuries. The so-
called "days of awe" were derived from Babylon. The time in God's
calendar for the inward inspection of sin, is at the Feast of
Unleavened Bread not between Trumpets and Atonement. The ever
Eternal God does not need man to invent customs and ceremonies
and theology to worship Him with. He has already given us all the
theology and customs and practices we need to worship Him in
spirit and in truth. They are all found in His holy word - the
word of truth (John 17:17) - the Bible.

Keith Hunt

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