In the month known as Tishrei, which follows the month Elul, God’s people celebrate three significant and important biblical holidays. These holidays are especially highlighted within the pages of the Scripture.
According to tradition, the first day of the seventh month coincides with the beginning of the creation of the world. It is known as the Feast of Trumpets (or Yom Teruah, or Rosh ha'Shana). This day is marked as the beginning of the new Jewish year. According to the Gregorian calendar, 1 Tishrei year 5777 falls on October 3, 2016. According to biblical record, on the first day of the seventh month the sound of the Shofar (specially made ram's horn) could be heard everywhere in the Promised Land of Israel. The Tanakh (Old Testament) refers to this day as the "day of rest" (Leviticus 23:23).
The festive sound of the shofar represents the turning of the Jewish people to their God. It symbolizes a wake up call prompting Jewish people to prepare for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur); to ready themselves for this holiday which is celebrated nine days later on the tenth day of the seventh month of the year. This year, 10 Tishrei 5777 coincides with the October 12, 2016.
It is a time of meditation and repentance: “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:27). Purification happens on this day. At that time the same people; the people of Israel, receive forgiveness for their sins. In the days of the Temple, the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies with blood of the sacrifice. He had to make atonement for the whole of the people of God there. Entrance to the Holy of Holies was allowed only to the high priest and only on this day.
In the Brit Chadashah (the New Testament) everyone who believes in the Lord has been already redeemed because "the Messiah was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:28). Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. "Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work" (Leviticus 23:34-35). On this day people construct improvised tents (booths) from the large leaves and branches of various trees. Staying in a booth helps the Jewish people to think about how their forefathers wandered in the wilderness and also to remember God's goodness; His protection and provision. Remember the things He provided in spite of all the conditions of life in the surrounding desert. The feast of the great joy and gladness, Sukkot, lasts for eight days. In Jewish tradition, these days are called "Zman Simchateinu”, which means "days of joy". This year the celebration falls on October 17-23, 2016.
The eighth and ninth concluding days of Sukkot are the culmination of the holiday. Scripture reminds us of Shemini Atzeret: "and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:36). Simchat Torah (Joy of Torah) falls on the ninth day of Sukkot and completes a series of biblical autumn holidays. It is celebrated on October 25th this year.