Wednesday, 15 September 2021
One Time, One Place, One People, One Language
Tonight (Wednesday night) is the night. Yes, tonight we begin Yom Kippur. In case you have wandered into this conversation from a "Rip Van Winkle" type of existence, let me tell you that Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is the day set aside in the Torah to "afflict your soul." (Leviticus 23:27)
What exactly does that mean? Our sages (historical rabbis who wisely interpreted scripture) called for a day of fasting and prayers of repentance on that day. When we had a Holy Temple and priesthood, that was the one day each year when the High Priest would enter the Holiest of all (the Holy of Holies). It was very much a day of convergence. Four dimensions all converged on that one day; time, people, space and language. Let me explain.
In the convergence of time, God appointed a day. We have an entire year, one circuit around the sun. Out of that year there are many Shabbats and other holidays (Holy Days). From all of them, one day (and only the afternoon of that day) is set aside by God for the High Priest to enter in to the place where the only light is the Shekinah Glory of God's presence. Other than that day, mankind was not allowed in God's presence.
In the convergence of people, again God chose. He chose a people. He made a nation based on His promise to our father, Abraham, and from Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob. One of God's names is "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." From the sons of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel), God made a nation out of children of Israel, whose 12 sons became the 12 tribes. From the 12 tribes, God set aside the tribe of Levi, and only Levi, to serve Him, without an inheritance. Out of that tribe of Levi, God set aside the house of Aaron as His priesthood. And from that priesthood, one man was appointed as High Priest, whose assignment was to enter into the Holy of Holies. Other than that one day, no one other than that one man was allowed in God's presence.
In the convergence of space, again God chose. He chose a land, promised to Abraham. Out of that land, God chose a city, Jerusalem. And out of that city, God chose the Temple Mount between the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley, God assigned Solomon to build the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash). In the innermost part of the Temple, God made a dark space, where the only light would be His Shekinah glory. Other than that one day, the one High Priest, and that one place, the Holy of Holies within the Holy Temple, no one was allowed in God's presence.
In the convergence of language, of all the languages on earth, God chose Hebrew as the prayer language of His chosen people. Of all the Hebrew words, God gave Himself a holy name, the Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay. That name was so holy that it could only be spoken aloud in one place by one man on one day. Only on that one day, by that one man and at that one place could that one name be spoken aloud, and only in the presence of God.
Now the good news. Because God sent His Son, Yeshua, you and I are included. The access that was once so highly restricted is now available to us today, and every day. We are that promised kingdom of priests with a divine assignment to minister to God on behalf of the people. Solomon's Temple has been destroyed, but now on account of Yeshua's once for all time sacrifice, God has set His Temple in our hearts. And yes, even His holy name must continually be spoken by His saints, today and every day, even to the ends of the earth. Now, go forth in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10) and proclaim His name to a sick and dying world.
Gamar Chatimah Tovah (may you have a completely good signature [in the book of life]) or L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu V'Tekatemu (may you have a good year and be written [signed] and sealed (in the book of life).
Rabbi Michael Weiner,