Teshuvah & the 10 Days of Awe

an article by Joel Allen

We are in the season known as Teshuvah. This occurs every year in the Hebrew month Elul and usually falls in the summer month of August. Teshuvah is a period of time between Elul 1 and Yom Kippur that is a traditional observance calling God’s people into repentance and returning back to the Father’s heart. Typically this season is called a 40 day journey of repentance and reflection on your life for the past year as you head toward Yom Kippur, which is also known as Yom Hadin or the “day of judgment.” Most scholars agree that the Messiah Yeshua is coming again in the fall season of Holy Days according to the Biblical calendar. So the timing of God’s people returning to Him in prayer, worship, and repentance right before His return I believe is quite remarkable and timely. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of this very meaningful but traditional observance of the Jewish people?

teshuvah-cycleSo I wanted to share with you in this article some treasures that I have come to know about Teshuvah as I have been observing it for a while now and have been blessed, along with my family as a result. Also what I have found is that this season is not always exactly 40 days depending on the calendar but is mostly 39 days but is always referred to as 40 days according to the Rabbis. Sometimes we see this in scripture where a rounding of numbers takes place. For instance when Yeshua sent out the 70 disciples to preach the kingdom it was actually 72 according to many scholars, and some translations still translate it as 72 instead. Okay moving on…

You will notice in the chart I made above that Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) falls within the days of Teshuvah. In fact, it falls on the first day of Tishrei or the seventh Hebrew month. Traditionally, this day is called in Judaism, Rosh Hashanah, which means the head of the year and is one of four New Years celebrated in Judaism. However, according to Leviticus 23 this Feast day is known as Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets or the Feast of Blowing. From Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur is 10 days and marks the final 10 days of Teshuvah. These 10 days are traditionally referred to as the “10 Days of Awe.” These are the most intense days of fasting, praying, and repenting leading up to the climax of return, which is Yom Kippur. This was a time that traditionally though t that YHVH would draw His ear close for the prayers of the repentant.

[Isa 55:6 ESV] 6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;

It was on Yom Kippur that the High Priest (Cohen HaGadol) would enter into the Holiest of Holies and sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, as an atonement for the nation of Israel. This could only happen one time a year on Yom Kippur. Traditionally it has been taught that on Yom Teruah the Books of Remembrance before YHVH were opened and you were inscribed in the book if your deeds were righteous but you would not be inscribed if you did not repent of your wickedness. These 10 days of Awe were the time of Judgment with the books opened but once Yom Kippur closed at sunset the books were closed for another year. It was during Yom Kippur that men would traditionally tear their outer coats in an outward sign of repentance and mourning and place ashes on their heads. Some would beat their chests violently in a show of repentance and pain. It is the Prophet Joel that saw hypocrisy in what the religious men were doing as they were only doing the outward things to be seen of men while their hearts were still full of wickedness.

[Joe 2:12-13 ESV] 12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”

How do we know this is talking about Teshuvah and Yom Kippur? We can see that YHVH is called His people back to Him with weeping and fasting. We can also look at the Hebrew word for “return” used twice in these verses. It is the Hebrew word “shuv” (שׁוּב shuwb) which is Strong’s number H7725 and is the three letter verbal root for Teshuvah.

With Teshuvah the theme is always drawing near to God so that He will draw near to you. It is the step we make first. He doesn’t draw near to us but we draw near to Him first and then He comes running just like the Prodigal Son’s Father when he saw his wayward son return, coming just over the hilltop. The Prodigal Son’s Father never went to the pig pen pleading with his son while he was in his rebellion and sin. However, the moment the son realized his sin he made Teshuvah and the Father ran to him. Listen to the words of James as he talks about this season:

[Jas 4:6-10 ESV] 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Here is where it gets really interesting… Do you know what constellation is in the sky during Teshuvah? No I am not advocating the horoscope or star readings but I do believe that the stars, including the constellations were named by YHVH and He placed them and named them to tell a story…

[Psa 147:4 ESV] 4 He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.

The constellation clearly seen in the sky during Teshuvah is called Virgo, the Virgin Maiden. Also known in Hebrew as Betullah. Why am I bringing this up you may ask? The Month Elul is named so because of a Hebrew acronym which spells out:

[Sng 6:3 ESV] 3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…” Which in Hebrew is Ani, L’dodi, V’dodi, Li

E- alef- Ani

L- Lamed- L’dodi

U- Vav- V’dodi

L- Lamed- Li

Jeremiah 31:21 … Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.”

We can clearly see that the stars point to a Virgin Maiden during a season that God is calling for His Bride to shuv or return to Him. What’s even more remarkable is that the constellation that precedes Virgo is Leo, or the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!!! It is as if He is pursuing His bride in the sky during this season. And if that wasn’t enough, the next constellation is Libra, or the Scales of Judgment. Remember that the Bride is making Teshuvah and it ends on Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgment! Wow. Isn’t our God amazing to leave us so many witnesses to His sovereign ways and plan? I hope this season you will join us and the Jewish people making Teshuvah. I pray it will never be a show but a time of true repentance as we prepare for the Return of the King!


Parshiot Tazria-Metzora


Parshiot Tazria/Metzora (תַזְרִיעַ מְּצֹרָע) “She conceives/leper”

Torah portion: Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-15:33
Haphtarah (concluding portion): 2 Kings 4:42-5:19
Brit Chadasha (New Testament): Luke 7:18-35

Did you know: Tazria-Metzora are the fourth and fifth parshiot [portions] of sefer [the book of] Vayikra [Leviticus]? It is a double portion.

Science/Health: This week we will learn about mildew. Abba wants us to keep ourselves clean but He also wants our clothes and homes to be clean. Having a leprous garment or leprous home is essentially one that has mildew/mold. This week we will be studying these fungi using this link from the University of Minnesota Extension.

Bible: The savior of the world was born into a poor family. How do we know this? Well, in this week’s parsha, we read about purification after childbirth (Leviticus 12:6-8). Mary (Miriam) brought her customary sacrifice and it was indeed the one that people brought if they couldn’t afford a lamb (Luke 2:22-24).

Bible: We see in the scriptures over and over that when Yeshua is healing someone, he tells them to “go and sin no more.” This has led many theologians to research the basis of sin=sickness doctrine. The Rabbis believe that lashon hara or “an evil tongue” is a direct precursor to leprosy. So, how does sin produce sickness in the life of a believer? More specifically, how do sins of the tongue affect health? This week in our homeschool we will be discussing this principle in light of three main scriptures: Numbers 12:1-16, Acts 9:36-43, James 3:1-18. In the first example, we see Miriam suffering because of back-biting. In the second passage, we see sending folks from the room that weren’t supporting the act of raising Tabitha from the dead because they were speaking about her in a positive light but in the past tense. In the third passage, we read an admonition regarding the use of our tongues from James.

Don’t forget to visit our friends & ministry partners:
Petah Tikvah
Hebraic Roots Network
Holy Language Institute

Parsha Tzav

 Parsha Tzav (צַו) “Command”

 Torah portion: Vayikra/Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Haphtarah (concluding portion): Malachi 3:4-24
Brit Chadasha (New Testament): Hebrews 9:11-28

Did you know: Tzav is the second parsha [portion] of sefer [the book of] Vayikra [Leviticus]?

Science: Drinking blood from coming from another person or animal is dangerous because many diseases are blood borne and there is an increased chance of having their diseases transferred to you. This week we will learn about blood-borne diseases.

Bible and Pop Culture: This week we learn that anyone who drinks blood will be cut off from Israel (Leviticus 7:26-27). It is interesting to note that vampirism is becoming more and more popular in our society because of movies like The Twilight Saga, Underworld, etc. Those movies glorify vampirism. In past generations, vampires were depicted as villains in stories such as Dracula. This week, the older kids will be writing a paper that answers this question: What do you think the repercussions are on the younger generations our society of changing the way they view vampirism? What does the Bible say about drinking blood? What does the movie industry say about it?

Culinary Fun: This week we learn that the sacrifices were offered with unleavened bread. This week we will be making unleavened bread in preparation for Pesach. We might also make some honey butter and some garlic butter to accompany our unleavened creations.

Health: This week we will be studying the nutritional benefits of eating the traditional foods found on the seder plate. Who knew? 😀

Haphtarah Connections: This week’s haphtarah (concluding portion) is found in Malachi chapter 3. Malachi 3:13-18 reads

Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

Isn’t it awesome that a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name? This week we will midrash (discuss) what this verse means and why its important to never lose sight of the importance of walking in holiness and reverence before our Father.

Crafty Fun: Malachi 3:8 talks about the importance of bringing a contribution before the LORD with our tithes and offerings. This week, let’s make a recycled tzedakah box. If you already have a tzedakah box, consider making a breakfast gift basket or a pampering bath salts gift in a jar for someone you know who is in need of food, pampering, and/or cheering up.

Brit Chadasha (New Testament) Connection: Our reading for the NT this week is in Hebrews 9. Verses 11-14 read,

But when Messiah appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Let us never forget that the most important thing in our walk with the Father is the blood of His son, YESHUA that purifies us of our sin and washes us clean. As we prepare for the Passover in the coming weeks, may we focus on his amazing, loving sacrifice and thank him with true thankfulness and continue to be in awe of His mercy and grace. I like this object lesson from the folks at Kids’ Sunday School online that shows our kids what NOT being washed of sin can look like on the outside.

Don’t forget to visit our friends & ministry partners:
Petah Tikvah
Hebraic Roots Network
Holy Language Institute

Parsha Shemini

Parsha Shemini (שְּׁמִינִי) “Eighth”

Torah portion: Vayikra/Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Haphtarah (concluding portion): 2 Samuel 6:1-7:17
Brit Chadasha (New Testament): Hebrews 7:1-19

Did you know: Shemini is the third parsha [portion] of sefer [the book of] Vayikra Leviticus]?

FREE: Take time to download our FREE coloring book “Clean and Unclean” by Jennifer Larson. This cute coloring book outlines the divisions of clean and unclean for children in a fun and meaningful way.

Science: Lots of times folks like to point out to us that the meat [clean] we consume is (in their opinion) no better than the flesh [unclean] they consume. They like to tell us that their “meat” and our meat all start with animals that eat weird things. They might even go so far as to proclaim that if pigs are fed a grass and grain diet, they are better for you than chicken! Chickens can eat disgusting things. We have chickens here as well as dogs. We live on a farm and are surrounded by farm land. There aren’t any neighbors in sight. Many hunters utilize the land surrounding ours for hunting deer and other animals in season. They usually “gut” the game and leave the entrails somewhere within the boundaries of the land that our dogs seem to enjoy hanging out. The dogs then bring the entrails into our yard and if we don’t remove them quickly, the chickens will eat the nasty stinky parts along with the dogs. We’ve seen our chickens eat each other’s eggs, peck each other’s eyes, pick through animal dung for bugs… all nasty stuff. The difference is, however, not in what they consume but how YHVH made their inner parts. For science this week we will watch a video about the The Science of Eating Kosher.

Tradition Study: There is a belief among some followers of the Torah that mixing meat and dairy is not allowed in the Torah. This means no cheeseburgers, no beef stroganoff, and no frosted mini-wheats (the kind made with beef gelatin). Where does this come from? Well, we read in the Torah not to “boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” For the sake of trying to make sure that you are never boiling a kid in its mother’s milk, they refrain from ever mixing meat and dairy. Our family does not follow this. We believe that the boiling of the kid in its mother’s milk is specific to just that.

Bible: Did you know that the word “kosher” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible in any language? The word for “clean” is not “kosher” but is tahowr. You can read more about “kosher” by reading our web-teaching. Another interesting fact is that the laws for determining if an animal is clean or unclean doesn’t appear first in this week’s parsha. We see it over and over again in the Torah prior to this week’s reading. For example, Adam and Chavvah’s [Eve’s] sons Cain and Able brought a sacrifice to YHVH. How did they even know to offer sacrifices? Able brought a ‘kosher’ animal as his sacrifice. Still not convinced? How did Noah know which animals were clean and which were not? There were two of every unclean and seven (or seven pairs depending on your interpretation of the text) of every clean animal on the ark. The distinction was made long before Levitius 11. So why reiterate it all of a sudden to the masses? The Torah tells us that Israelites left Egypt. But did you know that it also says that other nations left Egypt with Israel? There was a mixed multitude before the mountain. In order for everyone to know that there was only one law for the natural born Israelite and those who are adjoined to them (grafted in, adopted, sojourners, companions), YHVH in His mercy and wisdom spoke the Torah from Mount Sinai in every tongue so that everyone present could hear His instructions. This was the same Torah he discussed with Adam in the garden in their daily talks. This was the same Torah that Noah learned and lived out, and the same Torah he showed Abraham in the stories of the constellations that led Abraham to know of YHVH’s plan to redeem His people with a sacrifice of a miraculously conceived son. So, what does Kosher really mean to us today? We are instructed to keep the laws of clean and unclean not just in our diets but in our relationships, our dealings with those around us, and in the way we resent our bodies to YHVH in worship. YHVH tells us to “be holy as I am holy.” So, when you choose not to eat pepperoni pizza or wash your hands after using the bathroom, you are working toward being holy as YHVH is holy.

Restoring the Way Materials:
MessiShul Parsha Lapbook Curriculum: Vayikra
Preschool Adventure Series homeschool curriculum
Messianic Weekly (Kids) Volume 1: Vayikra
Messianic Weekly (Kids) Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Messianic Weekly (Teens) Volume 1: Vayikra
Messianic Weekly (Teens) Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Parsha for Preschool Volume 1
Parsha for Preschool Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Hebrew Handwriting Primer
Hebrew Handwriting With the Parsha Names
Noah’s Noodles Parsha Cookbook for Kids

Don’t forget to visit our friends & ministry partners:
Petah Tikvah
Heart of Wisdom
Hebraic Roots Network
Holy Language Institute

Parshiot Vayakhel/Pekudei

Parshiot Vayakhel וַיַּקְהֵל (He Gathered) and Pekudei פְקוּדֵי (Countings)

Torah portion: Shemot/Exodus 35:1-40:38
Haphtarah (concluding portion): Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
Brit Chadasha (New Testament): Hebrews 8:1-12, Hebrews 9:1-11

Did you know: Vayakhel/Pekudei are the 10th and 11th parshiot [portions] of sefer [scroll of/book of] Shemot? They are the last of the readings for sefer Shemot. Sometimes they are grouped together and sometimes they are separate. They are read separately in leap years. When they are grouped together, the reading is called a “double portion.”

Science: This week we read about how YHVH filled the tabernacle with a cloud. It was so dense that Moses couldn’t enter it. I remember hearing this really neat teaching about using soap and microwaving it to make it expand. If you unwrap a bar of Ivory™ soap and microwave it, the soap will expand into foam that is more than six times the size of the original bar. It’s a fun trick that won’t hurt either your microwave or the soap. The soap trick can be used to demonstrate closed-cell foam formation, physical change, and Charles’ Law. You can read the physics lesson plan here.

Fun Craft:  Puffy Paint Clouds (based on the cloud of YHVH filling the tabernacle). You will need: shaving cream, white glue (basic school glue). Directions: To make a batch of puffy paint, simply mix equal parts of shaving cream and white glue. Apply the glue to heavy paper using a sponge brush. Let the painting dry. It will be fluffy and white.

Culinary Fun: Fluffy Popcorn Snacks. (We seem to be keeping with the cloud theme here). You will need: 1 (7 1/2 ounce) jar marshmallow cream, 1/4 cup butter or 1/4 cup margarine, 8 cups unbuttered popped popcorn. Directions: Grease 9×9 in baking pan and set aside. Combine marshmallow fluff and butter in microwave safe dish and cook 2 min on high. Stir and cook 1 min more (can do this on the stove top too). Stir in popcorn. Using a spatula or waxed paper, press mixture into pan. Let cool and cut into bars.

Bible: This week we read in detail what the priests wore. We are commanded to wear something special too. We are commanded to wear tsit tsit (also written tzitzit, tzitziot, tzit tzit). This is pronounced “zeet zeet.” You can read all about them and how to make them by following this link.

Restoring the Way Materials:
MessiShul Parsha Lapbook Curriculum: Shemot
Preschool Adventure Series homeschool curriculum
Messianic Weekly (Kids) Volume 1: Shemot
Messianic Weekly (Kids) Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Messianic Weekly (Teens) Volume 1: Shemot
Messianic Weekly (Teens) Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Parsha for Preschool Volume 1
Parsha for Preschool Volume 2 [subscription $1.99/wk] Hebrew Handwriting Primer
Hebrew Handwriting With the Parsha Names
Noah’s Noodles Parsha Cookbook for Kids

Don’t forget to visit our friends & ministry partners:
Petah Tikvah
Heart of Wisdom
Hebraic Roots Network
Holy Language Institute