Why Does God Do That?

Moon with thunder
Image by George Hodan. publicdomainpictures.net

Shana Tova! (“Happy Year!”) Today is the first day of the Jewish year. According to tradition, it has been 5779 years since the creation of the world. We call this holiday Rosh Hashana, “Head of the Year.” Last night, celebrants in synagogues and homes–and a handful of churches–blew shofars and sang and danced and prayed, and ate round bread with honey-dipped apples (and maybe a nice brisket, some noodle kugel, and a few sips of Manischewitz).

The Bible doesn’t actually give us the date of creation. That date was calculated centuries ago by a devout Jewish scholar named Maimonides. His calculations in the Mishna Torah (“Repetition of the Teaching”) tell us how to figure the current Hebrew year. (I just go by whatever hebcal.com says.) So Rosh Hashana is not Biblical; it is a man-made holiday. And why not? I’m all about a good party.

vintage-animal-poster public domain
CC0 1.0 Image thanks to Karen Arnold at publicdomainpictures.net.

But isn’t Rosh Hashana the Biblical Feast of Trumpets?
No, but also kinda yes. It’s celebrated as if it were one and the same as the Festival (or Feast, if you’re old school) of Trumpets–in Hebrew Yom Teruah (“Day of [trumpet] Blasting/Shouting”). Yom Teruah is the high holiday commanded in the Bible. Numbers 29:1 says, “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”

Since the Festival of Trumpets is not about the new year, what is it about? Why was it commanded? No one knows. People have opinions, of course, but the Festival of Trumpets is the only Festival of the LORD with no explanation given.

Could that no-explanation thing be the reason we so gleefully turn the Festival of Trumpets into Rosh Hashana? Instead of wondering at the mystery of the holiday, we tell ourselves it is about creation, the new year, and food.

I think we all have trouble sitting with the idea of no explanation. This spills over into every aspect of my own spiritual life. Maybe yours, too? I struggle with the why of so many things–big things like hell, violence, inequality, suffering, and disease; and small things like why I can’t keep my days and nights straight.

I don’t have the answers, but I think about it this way. The Old Testament contains a lot of rules about food, sex, washing, etc. There’s a lot of laws given with no reasons, only the promise, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26, NIV)

On this side of time, we get it. We know that eating whatever crawls by, having sex with whatever crawls by, marrying our close relatives, and general dirtiness are all prescriptions for diseases. Through the eyeglasses of modern knowledge, we confidently state that God gave those rules to protect the Israelites from parasites, STDs, genetic abnormalities, and a whole host of icky germs. We feel good because we’re convinced we understand.

But think about this: The people living in that time didn’t understand. It took faith to toss out perfectly good stew just because a roach crawled into it, or tear down and rebuild an entire wall instead of plastering over mold, or carry load after load of water to keep up with all the washing. In those days, germs were unimaginable. But they still existed. Even though God didn’t explain, there was a real reason. Protection from diseases surely resulted from following the laws for no other reason but faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”(Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

I don’t know why so much heartache exists on this planet. You can blame a fallen earth, mankind’s free will, blah, blah, blah. Those answers don’t fully satisfy me. Yet, I imagine that one day we will understand it all as easily as we understand why we should wash our dishes. Until then, I lean on faith. I struggle with the why but not with the who. I trust God. Just because I don’t understand doesn’t mean there isn’t a real reason.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Hugs,
Kathy
——–
Related posts
I am for My Beloved and My Beloved is for Me

High Holidays: What if I Do it Wrong?

Hey! L’shana Tova!

Please help support this blog.

One is the number of unity, so I set up donations to take one dollar at a time. Of course, the more unity, the better. 🙂

$1.00

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Grok Nation

Est. Mayim Bialik 2015

Creative Studio Portfolio

I'm inspired, so I inspire

Ride the Pen

COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER

Hebrew for Christians Blog

A personal blog by John Parsons, author of the Hebrew for Christians web site.

The Writer’s Dig – WritersDigest.com

COPYEDITOR ~ WRITER ~ MERRYMAKER

Marlayne Giron

My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1

frugalfish

Using what's on hand.

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

M.N. Stroh

Historical Fiction

%d bloggers like this: