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Rosh HaShannah , Happy Jewish New Year 5775! The Bible Feast of Trumpets

September 27, 2014

 

Shana Tova,  Happy Jewish New Year 5775!

Shana Tova,   Happy Jewish New Year 5775!

 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.  Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”  (Leviticus 23:23–25)

Tonight at sunset begins one of the holiest days of the Jewish year: Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year).  It is the beginning of the Jewish year 5775.

 Since this day is a Sabbath, no work is allowed, and all over Israel and around the world, the Jewish People will be attending services in local synagogues.

 This celebration is also known as Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets).

 

 As the holiday begins tonight, selichot prayers for forgiveness will intensify and tomorrow morning the shofar (ram’s horn or trumpet) will be sounded around 100 times.  It will continue to be sounded throughout this holiday season.

First and Second Day Customs

This holiday is a feast; therefore, it's customary for families to gather tonight for a holiday meal that begins with the blessing over a round challah (egg bread) dipped in honey.

 The challah is round to represent completeness, the continuity of creation and the omnipresence of God, as well as the yearly cycle.

 Right afterward, apple slices are dipped in honey.  This simple tradition conveys the hope that the coming year will be sweet and free of sorrow.

 Tomorrow, a special ceremony called Tashlich (casting off) will be performed.

 This ritual involves symbolically casting off sin while reciting Micah 7:18–19 and other verses.  To do this, bits of bread and other food will be tossed into a body of water, such as a stream, river, lake, pond or sea, which will carry them away.

 “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?  You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.  You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”  (Micah 7:18–19)

  Tomorrow night, as the sun goes down, the second night of Rosh HaShanah will begin, and many will observe the tradition of serving a fruit that has just come into season. 

This fruit is often the pomegranate since it comes into season in Israel around this time.

 According to Jewish tradition, the pomegranate has 613 seeds, which is the same number of mitzvot (commandments) in the Torah.

The following blessing called the Shehecheyanu (Who Has Given Us Life) is recited before eating the fruit:

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.  Amen. 

The Shofar

 “On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest [Shabbaton], a sacred assembly [mikreh kodesh] commemorated with trumpet blasts [Zichron Teruah].”  (Leviticus 23:24)  

In Leviticus 23:24, Rosh HaShanah is called Shabbaton Zichron Teruah, which is translated as a special Sabbath holiday of remembrance with the blasting of the shofar.

That is why a central observance of this holy day is the sounding of the shofar, which heralds God as King of the Universe.  The shofar played a role when He came to the Israelites in a dense cloud at Mount Sinai. 

There in His presence, on the morning of the third day, three months after they left Egypt, amidst .....

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