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Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the most important holidays for the Jewish. It is a time for people to seek forgiveness from others. Yom Kippur is important because it comes just before the Jewish new year so that people can have a fresh start for the new year. Yom Kippur also gives people a chance to look back on the past year and plan for the upcoming year.

Yom Kippur dates back to biblical times when animals were used to transfer sins to. The first animal that was used was a goat, but soon roosters for males and hens for females were used. The sins were transferred from people to the animals by tying a rope to the fowl's legs and then spinning around the head of the person who was transferring their sins. While the fowl was being spun the person who was transferring their sins would begin chanting. When the ceremony was finished the animal would be sent away into the dessert. Yom Kippur is practiced very differently today. Instead of transferring their sins to animals people donate money to charities and throw stones into ponds.

On the night before Yom Kippur, people prepare for the following day's fast by eating an enourmous meal. Following the meal candles are lit and the Shehecheyanu is recited to bless the candles. The following day is spent at the synogauge where services are conducted all day long. The most important part of the services is when the rabbi asks everyone to take time to seek forgiveness of anyone whom they may have hurt in some way in the past year. People must seek forgiveness because the Jewish feel that forgiveness is not something that may be given, it is something that must be sought after. Not wanting to start the new year with any grudges, the entire congregation gets up and begins seeking forgiveness.

At sundown the fast is over. The congregation leaves the synagouge and goes home. When they get home the break the fast by eating a huge meal. This meal marks the end of Yom Kippur.

Timeline of The Hebrews

922 B.C. Isreal breaks up after the death of Solomon. Splits into a northern and southern kingdom with Shechm the capital of the northern half and Jerusalem as the capital of the southern half.

876 B.C. King Omri makes Samariai new capital.

842 B.C. Queen Jezebel imposes the cult of Baal. The people revolt and the Aramaeans take advantage of this oppertunity and captures some land from Isreal.

786 B.C.-746 B.C. Renaissance of Isreal under Jerobam II.

783 B.C.-742 B.C. Renaissance of Judah under Uzziah.

750 B.C. The prophets Amos and Hosea speak out against the exploitation of the poor by the rich.

738 B.C. The Assyrians force Isreal to pay a large tribute.

721 B.C. The Assyrians manage to capture Isreal and deport the Jews. Judah becomes a vassal state of Assyria.

715 B.C. Hezekiah becomes King of Judah and rids the religion of Assyrian influence.

687 B.C. Assyrians attack Jereusalem.

640 B.C.-609 B.C. King Josiah of Judah wins back some land from the Assyrians.

597 B.C. The Babylonians capture Jerusalem and deport King Jehoiadin causing the end of the Kingdom of Judah.

587 B.C.-539 B.C. The Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and cause the collapse of the Kingdom of Judah. 587 marks the begining of the Babylonian exile which ended through the Edict of Liberation of Cyrus the Persian

538 B.C.-400 B.C. The Jews return to the Holy Land. Joshua and Zerubbabel are the religious heads of Judea. Haggai adn Zechariah are the prophets in Judea.

332 B.C. Alexander the Great conquers Jerusalem.

167 B.C.-164 B.C. The Jews are persecuted and the cult of Zeus is established in their temples.

104 B.C.-37 B.C. Hasmoneans rule Judea.

63 B.C. Pompey captures Jerusalem stretching the Roman power to the Holy Land.

26 A.D.-36 A.D. Pontius Pilate is the govenor of Judea.

66 A.D.-73 A.D. The Jews revolt for the first time against Rome.

70 A.D. Romans destroy the temple.

132 A.D.-135 A.D. The second Jewish revolt against Rome. Also known as Bar Kokhba. The Jews are destroyed in battle and the Jews are dispersed.

351 A.D. The Revolt of Patricius takes place.

637 A.D. The Arabs capture the city of Jerusalem.

1095 A.D.-1270 A.D. Crusades occour in a Christian attemptto regain the holy lond which was also sacred to them.

1492 A.D. The Jews are expulted from Spain and Ghettos are formed.

1917 A.D. Pogroms begin occouring in Russia. The rise of antisemitism.

1936 A.D. Hitler commands Nazis to destroy Jewish towns and blames it on hoodlums.

1939 A.D.-1945 World War II.

1948 A.D. Isreal becomes a country.

Military Life

The Hebrews viewed war as a holy act. War was thought of in this way because they believed that it was God's will that they fight and that they would win if he wanted them to.

In their early days the Hebrews had no permanent army and relied on all Hebrew men over 20 to fight whenever there was a threat to the Hebrews. Military service was viewed as a religious obligation so men would always be willing to serve in the army. Before they established a full time army the Hebrews also relied on mercenaries and bandits to help them fight.

When Saul became king he saw that it was necessary to set up a full time army. He gathered all of the men he could find into an unorganized group. Later, Solomon turned the army into a large highly organized group. Solomon also set up a recruiting office so that in times of danger temporary help could be gotten in addition to the regular army. However, by 700 B.C. the citizens army had replaced the regular army because there was no need for a regular army with the tremendous amount of volunteers.

The Hebrew's army consisted mainly of their infantry which served as the backbone of the army. The infantry was equipped with only bronze helmets and coats of mail also made of bronze. Bronze was the metal that was chiefly used in the Hebrew's armor even though iron was discovered to be much stronger. The infantry was equipped with either swords, or lances for hand to hand combat, with lances being the weapon of choice. Either bows, slings or spears were used for artillery with bows being used much more than slings or spears.

A second important part of the Hebrew army were the chariots they used. Solomon was the first to realize the important role that chariots could play in war and implemented them into the Hebrew army. The chariots could dominate a battle taking place on flat land, but on the other hand were rendered useless on hills and mountains.

Because the Hebrews believed that war was a holy act the Hebrews had to prepare for the battle spiritually as well as physically. Before every battle sacrifices were made accompanied by prayers. Before any campaign was started a priest would be consulted on the precise time for which the campaign would be started. The priest would also be brought along on the campaign so he cold be consulted at crucial points during the campaign. All of these were done to gain God's will and determine his wishes.

The main form of battle the Hebrews engaged in was siege warfare. They first would attempt to capture the city's water supply. Once they controlled the water they would cut of the supply of food from outside the city. Once they had accomplished these the would wait for months and sometimes years. This would cause the city to resort to it's stored food. Once the stored food ran out, people either died of malnutrition, paid high prices for food on the black market, or resorted to cannibalism. This method of battle proved to be highly effective for the Hebrews.

The reason for much of the Hebrews success was their attitude toward war. Because of their belief that war was holy they got an enormous amount of support from their people. Also, believing that the result of the wars they were fighting was determined by what their God wanted had to have given the Hebrews some hope even when they were losing. Without their attitude towards was the Hebrews would have been a much weaker opponent.

Source: Essay UK -

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