Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur there are ten days that are commonly known as the Days of Awe. In Judaism, however, these days take on a special significance and are known by followers of the faith as Aseret Yemei Teshuva. These ten days continue the themes of repentance and starting anew that are honored on Rosh Hashanah. Unlike Rosh Hashanah, work is allowed during this span of ten days. In this article, you will learn about the special significance of the Aseret Yemei Teshuva, or the Days of Awe and also about some customs practiced during these days by the Jewish People.
On Rosh Hashanah, G-d writes everyone’s name in a book. This book decides who will lead a good life and who will lead an unhappy or sinful life. The book also determines who will live and die. During Aseret Yemei Teshuva, people have the opportunity to change what G-d has written in the book. This is a time to take action. Like Rosh Hashanah, this is a time of repentance and a time to make up for sins of the past. It is a hopeful time in which people may take action to redirect the courses of their lives.
A common custom during Aseret Yemei Teshuva is for followers of the Jewish faith to make amends with people with whom they have had bad or troubled relationships in the past. If you have wronged someone in the previous year, this holiday is a time to take action. It is a custom for Jewish people to seek out those they have offended or wronged and to apologize and start anew. These Ten Days of Awe are full of repenting, praying, and performing acts of charity.
An important thing to remember about these ten days is that the repenting that takes place is only among people. All repentance that takes place between people and G-d happens on Yom Kippur, which occurs at the end of Aseret Yemei Teshuva. Therefore the Ten Days of Awe are not only a time for a special kind of repentance, but also a time to prepare for Yom Kippur. There are some customs and prayers that happen during mealtime, but these are not commonly practiced by today’s modern Jewish people. On the contrary, many contemporary Jews are probably not familiar with these customs at all. The ten days are normally seen as a time to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
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