Thus if a person’s intention is to obey God, nothing can hinder its accomplishment. On this day God commanded His children to fast, but they must strengthen their bodies to obey Him by eating on the day before. It is a person’s duty to sanctify himself, bodily and spiritually, for the approach of this great day. He should be ready to enter at any moment into the Fearful Presence with repentance and good deeds as his companions.
A certain man had three friends. One of these he loved dearly; the second he loved also, but not as intensely as the first; but toward the third one he was quite indifferently disposed.
Now the king of the country sent an officer to this man, commanding his immediate appearance before the throne. Greatly terrified was the man at this summons. He thought that somebody had been speaking evil of him, or probably accusing him falsely before his sovereign, and being afraid to appear unaccompanied before the royal presence, he resolved to ask one of his friends to go with him. First he naturally applied to his dearest friend, but he at once declined to go, giving no reason and no excuse for his lack of friendliness. So the man applied to his second friend, who said to him:—
“I will go with thee as far as the palace gates, but I will not enter with thee before the king.”
In desperation the man applied to his third friend, the one whom he had neglected, but who replied to him at once:—
“Fear not; I will go with thee, and I will speak in thy defense. I will not leave thee until thou art delivered from thy trouble.”
The “first friend” is a man’s wealth, which he must leave behind him when he dies. The “second friend” is typified by the relatives who follow him to the grave and leave him when the earth has covered his remains. The “third friend,” he who entered with him into the presence of the king, is as the good deeds of a man’s life, which never desert, but accompany him to plead his cause before the King of kings, who regardeth not person nor taketh bribery.
Thus taught Rabbi Eleazer:—
“On this great and tearful day the angel Samal finds no blots, no sins on Israel.” Thus he addresses the Most High:—
“’O Sovereign Lord, upon the earth this day one nation pure and innocent exists. Even as the angels is Israel on this Atonement Day. As peace exists in heaven, so rests it now upon this people, praying to Thy Holy Name.’
“God hears this testimony of His angel, and pardon’s all His people’s sins.”
But though the Almighty thus forgives our sins, we may not repeat them with impunity, for “to such a one as saith, ’I will commit a sin and repent,’ there can be no forgiveness, no repentance.”
The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, Tishri (October), and during its continuance, seven days, the Israelites are commanded to dwell in tabernacles or booths. This is designed to keep fresh in their memory the tents with formed their homes during their forty years’ sojourn in the wilderness. The symbols of the festival are branches of the palm, bound with sprigs of myrtle and willow, and a citron.