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    Two High Holydays – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do we need both Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur?

    A. On the understandable basis that the two occasions are linked, we have coined a name – The Ten Days of Penitence – with Rosh HaShanah at the beginning and Yom Kippur at the end of this period.

    Actually the two High Holydays began with two quite different events, Rosh HaShanah with Creation, Yom Kippur with God’s forgiveness for the sin of the golden calf.

    But if we were to construct a practical link between them, it would be this:

    Rosh HaShanah reminds us of the great hopes with which life began, Yom Kippur of human failure to maintain that grand level.

    Rosh HaShanah is the dream, Yom Kippur the reality.

    But Yom Kippur asks a question: “What will you do now? If your dreams have collapsed, are you simply going to weep?”

    It also gives an answer: “There is a tomorrow, and a fresh start is possible.”

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