by Brad Scott
In between the feast of the awakening blast (Yom Teru'ah) and the feast of Tabernacles is a break from what is traditionally seen as celebrating. This time is known as Yom Kippuriym or literally the day of atonements. What lies between the sound to awaken and our dwelling in booths is a time to self-reflect and focus on our disobedience and rebellion as a body. Our meditation and solemn self reflection on our walk with YHVH is concentrated in the Hebrew word 'anah (ענה), translated as affliction and humble.
Vayiqera (Leviticus) 23:27Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHVH.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
The etymology of 'anah means to respond or react to someone or some thing. Hence it is also translated as to answer or respond.
Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 18:27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto Adonay, which am but dust and ashes:
There are a number of translations of this word in both testaments. Its pictographic meaning aids us in understanding this word as Hebrew will always reveal its meaning in the everyday things we do in our daily life. It is made up of an ayin (ע) (to see), a nun (נ) (life) and a hey (ה) (a man reaching up as to behold). To answer is to respond to a particular condition or stimulus. The idea of afflicting your souls is to stop and give an account of one's self. Paul admonishes us to examine ourselves in 1 Corinthians 13:5. It is a time of retrospection. Traditionally this word has been tied to fasting during Yom Kippuriym. Fasting is infrequently tied to affliction (Ezera (Ezra) 8:21), but that is not what the word means. Fasting and afflicting are two different things, so much so that our Father admonishes His people to return to His fast as fasting slowly became affliction.
Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 58:4-7Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to YHVH? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Fasting (tzom (צם) ) is NOT a time of self analysis and reflection, but rather a time to get up and loose bands, undo burdens and break yokes. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with fasting during this time of year as long as one is about the business of afflicting their souls. As a side note, one of the gradational variants of this word is 'anan (ענן) , which is translated as clouds. When water vapors rise from the earth and begin to cool the response or result is a cloud. Clouds are a response to rising water molecules. A cognate of this word is 'aniy (עני) or the poor.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
One who is wise and humble enough to really look at himself and see a need for a Savior and someone greater than himself is truly afflicting his soul.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊