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Sinai, where it is said: “And the voice of the cornet was exceeding loud.” Fourthly, to remind them of the prophets, who are compared by Ezekiel to watchmen blowing their trumpets. Fifthly, to remind them of the destruction of the Holy Temple, so that when they hear the sound of the horn, they ought to beseech the Almighty to rebuild the Temple. Sixthly, to remind them of the submission of Isaac to the will of heaven. Seventhly, that the sound of the trumpet may induce them to humble themselves before their God, for it is the nature of wind instruments to produce dread and terror. Eighthly, to remind them of the Day of Judgment, on which the trumpet is to be sounded. Ninthly, to remind them to pray for the time when the outcasts of Israel shall be gathered together. Lastly, to remind them of the resurrection of the dead.
As the blowing of the Shophar is a most important act, a well-qualified person is always selected. Four are appointed, three of whom remain stationary, whilst the chief performs the duties. The blasts are thirty in number, each having a proper and distinct name; and whilst the horn is being blown the congregation remain perfectly silent, for every
Jew possessed of any religious feeling endeavours to hear its sound.
The synagogue is again visited in the afternoon and evening for service. Here is a specimen of one of the prayers said on this occasion:
“Our God! and the God of our fathers, Oh sound the great trumpet for the enjoyment of our liberties: set up Thy standard to assemble our captivities, and gather together our dispersed among the nations, from the extreme parts of the earth: and conduct us unto Zion Thy city with rejoicing, and unto Jerusalem the city of Thy sanctuary with everlasting joy;
that we may there perform before Thee the offerings of our duty, as it is commanded unto us in Thy law, by the hand of Moses Thy servant. For from the mouth of Thy glory it was said: 'And in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn feast days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifice of your peace-offerings: that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God.' For Thou vouchsafest to hear the sound of the trumpet, and Thou hearkenest to the jubilation thereof, and there is none to be compared unto Thee. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who heareth the voice of the jubilation of His people Israel with compassion."
At the conclusion of the evening service the Jews go down to the banks of the nearest river; and in the most quiet spot offer up a prayer, whilst shaking the skirts of their garments over the river, to signify that their sins are cast away. This shaking is called Tashlich (to cast), and owes its origin to the prophet Micah, who writes: “He will turn again his compassion unto us, subdue our misdeeds, and cast all our sins into the depth of the sea.” During this shaking of the garments, if fishes are seen in the river it is considered a good sign, as it is supposed that, like the scapegoat of old, they will bear away the sins of the people. This ceremony is also done in remembrance of a tradition that Abraham, when about to offer up Isaac, met Satan on the road, who changed himself into a deep river, through which Abraham had to wade. As the water reached Abraham's neck, he prayed, “Save me, O Lord, for the waters come to my soul,” upon which God showed him a dry road in the midst of the waters, and he passed through with perfect safety.
The next day is kept as strictly as the first.
The first ten days of the month of Tishri are called the Ten Days of Repentance, during which time the Jews are to repent, confessing their sins, and praying to the Almighty to write them down in the Book of Life, and to grant them a happy New Year. The Sabbath that falls within these days is called the Sabbath of Repentance, on which day the Rabbi delivers a sermon on the subject : “ because, as the Hebrew ritual asserts, on the first day of the year it is inscribed, and on the Fast Day of Atonement it is sealed and determined, how many shall be born, and how many shall be abortions; who shall live, and who shall die; who shall finish his allotted time, and who shall not; who is to perish through fire or by water, the sword, wild beasts, hunger, thirst, earthquakes, plagues, or by strangling; who shall be at rest, and who shall be wandering; who shall remain tranquil, and who shall be disturbed; who shall grow rich, and become poor; who shall be cast down, and who shall be exalted. But Penitence, Prayer, and Charity can avert the evil decree.” This averting must, however, take place before sunset on the Day of Atonement; therefore these ten important days are called Yamen Noraim, or Days of Reverence. May the day soon come when the Pharisaical Jew shall abandon these unprofitable ceremonies, and learn to say:
“Oh that Thy cross may ever
My hope and refuge be ;
My trusting soul from Thee."
RUSSIAN AND POLISH Jews—THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
F all the holy days which the
various religious creeds require their respective followers to observe, none equals in austerity and apparent contrition of heart the sacred Day of Atonement of the Jews. In severity of observance and solemnity of ceremonial they cannot
compare with this holiest of holy days in the Jewish Calendar,
And nowhere is the day more strictly observed than in Poland. In most of the countries in which the scattered nation of God
have been forced by the circumstances of their history to take refuge, they have been drawn into association with the general population, but in Poland the line of demarcation between them and the inhabitants of the country of their adoption is still most rigidly drawn. In it the Jews are not only a race, but an exclusive