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What Is Rosh Hashanah?

What Is Rosh Hashanah?

The anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, a day of judgment and coronation, the sounding of the shofar . . .


The festival of Rosh Hashanah—the name means Head of the Year—is observed for two days beginning on 1 Tishrei, the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in G‑d’s world.

Rosh Hashanah thus emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world. Each year on Rosh Hashanah, “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die . . . who shall be impoverished, and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.” But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe is dependent upon the renewal of the divine desire for a world when we accept G‑d’s kingship each year on Rosh Hashanah.

The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man’s first sin and his repentance thereof, and serves as the first of the “Ten Days of Repentance” which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Another significance of the shofar is to recall the Binding of Isaac which also occurred on Rosh Hashanah, in which a ram took Isaac’s place as an offering to G‑d; we evoke Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, and plead that the merit of his deed should stand by us as we pray for a year of life, health and prosperity. Altogether, we listen to one hundred shofar blasts over the course of the Rosh Hashanah services.

Additional Rosh Hashanah observances include: a) Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the new year’s blessings. b) Blessing one another with the words “Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,” “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” c) Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water (an ocean, river, pond, etc.), in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.” And as with every major Jewish holiday, after candlelighting and prayers we recite kiddush and make a blessing on the challah.

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Discussion (176)
May 3, 2016
anonymous April 26
The reason that we don't write His name out fully is because we are not allowed to destroy His name, and if it is written out and we throw away the paper, we have destroyed it. There is a difference of contemporary Rabbinic opinion as to whether or not the computer is considered writing, but many people are careful even with the computer not to write it our fully.
What Becky wrote about reverence is true and similar to this. Also, for that reason, we spell His holy name with a capital G.

So the question arises, what do we do with a paper with His name on it that we want to dispose of, and even more problematic, a torn prayer book, etc? So these are buried. Where? Usually there is a collection box in the synagogue, with people in charge, who give it to the people who take care of this.
April 26, 2016
Why do you use g-d instead of god?
March 3, 2016
Some have asked why write G_d instead of God. I'm not sure if this has been addressed to anyone especially since I'm reading the dates of your posting, but this is a very respectful and honorable way that the Jewish people use. They approach God with awe, wonder and respect. They feel His name is so Holy that they dare utter it . Deep reverence is how we are to approach the LORD. You can see how casually and without reverence His name is used...especially in America!
September 15, 2015
A have a lots of friends that are jewish and celebrabe rosh hashanah
Santa fe nm
September 15, 2015
Happy New Year all :)

Israel supporter
September 14, 2015
Wow! I had no idea of the significance of Rosh Hoshana! I'm so glad I looked it up!!! I am blessed in the knowledge. Alot of birthdays on the 14th I see. So is mine lol. I am going to celebrate this day as a new year, new beginning, that will be sweet! And I declare to you..may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year! SHALOM
Rhonda Porter
September 13, 2015
Nothing is most important than this day !!!
September 13, 2015
Happy New Year
Happy New Year Israel. I pray for your peace and prosperity. May G-d bless and keep you.
September 13, 2015
Thanks for the info. Just one thing. Why write G-d instead of God? Is this intentional? If it is, may God have mercy upon us all.
September 13, 2015
Leshanah tovah tikatevi veteichateim!
Springfield Massachusetts
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