What are the “Days of Awe / High Holy Days?”
Rosh Hashanah is the first of the “High Holy Days,” and begins the most spiritually intense part of the Jewish year, the “yamin nora’im,” the “Days of Awe.” The Days of Awe begin on Rosh Hashanah and conclude on Yom Kippur, a total of 10 days. According to tradition, on Rosh Hashanah the wholly righteous are inscribed in the Book of Life. For the rest of us, judgment is suspended until Yom Kippur, when our good works and acts of repentance during those 10 days can tilt the balance in our favor so that we may live. These 10 days are devoted to a careful examination of who we are in an attempt to become cognizant of the ways we have fallen short by failing others, ourselves and God. This is also the time given to ask forgiveness to those we might have hurt or offended during the past year. During this period, emphasis is placed on the sincerity of one’s repentance.