Tomorrow, many religious Jews will embark on a series of abominable pagan rites. Their idea is to celebrate Jewish New Year, which has nothing to do with autumn in the first place. Jewish new year is commanded in the spring month of Nissan to commemorate the Exodus. Rabbis moved Rosh ha-Shanah to autumn for no theological reason. Jews were not commanded to celebrate the new year; that’s a typically pagan festival.
[Logically, New Year should be celebrated on the first day of the first month of a year. Ezekiel 40:1: "in the beginning of the year (rosh hashanah), in the tenth day of the month..." Ezekiel, of course, didn't mean that new year commences on the tenth of the month, but rather "around the start of the new year." The Masoretes specifically disagreed with the Septuagint, rendering Ezekiel 45:20 as "the first day of the seventh month," a phrase which justified moving the New Year to the seventh month.]
Hasidim are traveling to Medzhibozh to honor Ball Shem Tov, a founder of their religion considerably removed from other branches of Judaism. Besht introduced many doctrinal innovations, and some of them, like God abiding in each human being, are Gnostic. The Gaon had the good sense to prevent the Jewish community from undergoing another split, and accepted the Hasidim as proper adherents of Judaism.
Medzhibozh is a small town in the region of Ukraine incidentally named after the Jew-butcher Khmelnitsky. The visiting Hasidim won’t concern themselves with the thousands of Jews murdered there by the troops of Khmelnitsky, Petlyura, and the Nazis, but go straight to pray at the tomb of Baal Shem Tov. Praying at someone’s grave is the ultimate pagan rite. Pre-Judaic Hebrews also worshipped ancestral spirits, and the Torah eradicated that practice. The Bible relates with revulsion the account of Saul employing a witch to communicate with the deceased prophet Samuel. In Leviticus, contact with deceased is a grave source of impurity. Cemeteries are ritually impure, and it is wrong to pray there.
Theoretically, Hasidim pray at the grave. In practice, many pray to the late Besht (still more pray in New York to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe).
As the New Year draws near, the Hasidim will engage in the equally pagan rite of shaking their tzitzit at the seashore. They are symbolically shaking off their sins. The ancient Greeks just as symbolically swam with pigs in the Eleusinian mysteries; their sins symbolically passed into the pigs. The Hasidim who despise the Christian story of Jesus pushing demons from an insane man into pigs would do well to consider their own rites.
Or take kaparot, a profoundly pagan rite of killing a rooster as a substitute for one’s own death under the burden of sins. Even the guilt offering was confined to the Temple and banned in hilltop sanctuaries. Modern Jews who deem themselves religious sacrifice roosters just about anywhere. Their religion has deteriorated into plain idolatry, as when they kiss Torah scrolls or blow kisses to mezuzot just like their Catholic and Orthodox Christian counterparts kiss statues and bow to icons.
They are not religious. They don’t know awe before God. Their God is a clerk busily writing down absurd superstitions.
I don’t recognize Judaism in their religion.