Crazy Summer Days & Pre-Autumn Ruminations
By Steve Levey
(Having a crazy summer? Me, too. I was recounting all the bizarre things that have been happening to me the last few months, when my friend Steve Levey, of Washington, D.C., offered these insightful thoughts. K. LeBeau, ed.)
PERHAPS it has something to do with (and I might be going over the top here) with the upcoming month of September in which Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the 18th. It’s just 10 days before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which is being celebrated on September 27 this year. Normally, Yom Kippur occurs in early October — these holy days move a bit from year to year according to the lunar cycle of reference.
Kabbalistically, Yom Kippur is considered to be the most powerful day of the year (although the Sabbaths or each Saturday from sundown Friday on, also have this power latent in them) where the previous year is considered “closed” so that the new one can have a fresh start in us.
The term “kippur” is Hebrew (oddly enough) and comes from the word “kippurim,” which means “to close. “Therefore the Torah, normally kept open to the specific place required for reading each day of the year — for the entire year, is closed on Yom Kippur. I think this is a very significant and useful practice.
My point is; I’ve always thought that the natural influences at this time of the year proved these particular days had merit. The idea being to prepare to close out the past year in terms of a consideration of what went on, which is very much like the Pythagorean review–called “nightly review,” which is to be done daily before sleep as he prescribed for his students, leaving the coming year (day) a chance to have a fresh presentation.
HPB mentions that she was surprised to see that the Christians didn’t keep these days for the New Year cycle instead of adopting the Greek one, even though the sun gods, as she groups Krishna, the Christ, etc., are to be revered around this time, culminating on January 4th, the Theosophical New Year.
Gifts for a New Cycle
I think what she was getting at is — there is a genuine metaphysical impression upon our inner natures at the so-called Jewish cycle of New Year/Yom Kippur regarding ends and beginnings, and a natural reverential drive inherent to us, around the December/January cycle. This makes the connection Theosophical (which is what the term really implies) in terms of a synthetic relationship of all of this to us in the West as well as a synthetic doctrine which cuts across all continents and periods of time.
Out with the Old, In with the New
As I understand all of this, we need to get used to seeing these periods as transition cycles, which makes them easier to live with, because they are going to happen anyway (a little reality therapy). Although most Jews living their cyclic recognition of the Jewish calendar of events, suffer righteously during these periods of time, because they take the repentance aspect of their connection to the past too strongly instead of also considering the holy day being latent with potential rejuvenation. Here is a resemblance to Shiva as the third aspect of the Hindu trinity Trimurti — death and regeneration.
Being raised Jewish, I saw how my mother put a special bulb containing the six-pointed star of David in a particular lamp on Yom Kippur, in memory of the dead of the previous year. Also, many Jews go to temple on the evening before, to a special Memoriam service in which Kol Nidre is sung-a particularly reverential (although beautiful) hymnal for the previously deceased.
So, Yom Kippur ends up being a day of atonement for themselves and those who died, which the Jewish temples support. All of it is grossly misunderstood or taken too literally or both, per the explanations given in rabbinical and Kabalistic writings.
Maybe one could consider taking a universal view of Kabala as compared with Esoteric Vidya (see chart):