Hurricanes and Yom Kippur
Hurricane Harvey. For those who live around the U.S., these two words are intriguing and newsworthy. Which water-logged soul was rescued from the unprecedented high waters in Houston today? But, for those who live in Texas, and especially southeast Texas, the words Hurricane Harvey have an entirely different meaning. They tell the story of sacrifice and mercy; fear and grace. The name Harvey is derived from Old Breton and means battle worthy. Indeed, Harvey launched a first-class battle on behalf of nature, and proved itself to be an excellent warrior.
In some ways, Yom Kippur is similar and accomplishes a similar purpose. This season of teshuvah (repentance) which ends with the fast of Yom Kippur, is one marked by sacrifice and fear - like the kind generated by Hurricane Harvey. People are wondering, “Will I live, or will I die in the coming year?” This is the season when those who cling to Elohim, and celebrate His festivals, take stock of how they have lived for Him during the past year.
At the end of forty days of prayer and teshuvah, they look for His mercy and grace on Yom Kippur. The process of self-judgment leading up to this Shabbat Shabbaton (Sabbath of Sabbaths) is the first step toward the new beginning and spiritual renewal which the fall festivals promise. The pattern of sober self-assessment followed by repentance, prayer, and expectant hope, transforms one to be more like the meaning of the name Harvey. This season makes spiritual sojourners battle worthy, and increases their readiness for whatever is to come in the new Hebrew year just ahead.
Published August 31, 2017