Rosh Hashanah - Apples and Honey For A Sweet New Year
"Rosh Hashanah," commonly known as the Jewish New Year
Rosh Ha Shana
The Jewish New Year
The 2013 Jewish Calendar dates for the first High Holiday:
Rosh Hashanah 2013 begins in the evening of Wednesday, September 4 and ends in the evening of Friday, September 6
New Years Greeting
"Leshana tova tekatev v'etachetem- May you be inscribed for a good year!"
The Shofar On Rosh Hashana
The Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah also marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which finish at the end of Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.
It is on this day that we celebrate the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve. It is a day of judgment and coronation and its central observance is the sounding of the shofar. It is the shofar, the rams horn that represents the blast of the trumpet. Altogether, it is customary to hear 100 shofar blasts including tekiot, shevarim and teruot.
Rosh HaShana Wishes
How Do We Observe Rosh HaShana
"Hayom Harat Olam"
Through Teshuvah - return to the right path, working toward reconciliation, asking for forgiveness and granting it,
Through Tefilah - the deep connection with G-d with a open and humble heart and allowing some light to seep in
ThroughTzedakah - acts of fairness toward our fellow human beings devoting oneself to justice, dignity and peace in our world.
Days Of Awe - Yamim Noraim
The Days Of Remembrance
The High Holidays also known as the Days of Awe is the perfect time for us to look back at the past year, our deeds, our mistakes and our missed opportunities.
During this time the theme of the Days of Awe is that G-d in his bookkeeping writes our names. It is written that who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have it bad. These books are written in on Rosh Hashana but we have 10 days to alter that decision. The actions that can change this decree are repentance, prayer and good deeds.
These books are sealed on Yom Kippur.
An so today is the birth of something completely new.
The Days of Awe
An Accounting of The Soul
During the Days of Awe
Judaism has a term for true self contemplation: heshbon hanefesh. And so as the new year is about to begin we take an Accounting of the Soul.
Questions to ponder and ask ourselves are:
- Who am I?
- Have I let my insecurities, my self doubt stifle me?
- Where am I in my life?
- Have I become so hard that I am cold to the people around me?
- What relationships am I in that diminish my dignity?
- Have I let myself love?
- Have I let others love me?
- What pain have I caused?
- What potential do I have?
- Has my year been marked brokenness or wholeness?
- Do I live my life in distrust or faith?
Change and Balance
These questions can lead us to find balance, which is the act of thinking, analyzing, and drawing conclusions with regard to one’s own actions and those of a collective.
Without this act, there is no possibility for change, and change is a central concept of the Days of Awe.
A Rosh Hashanah Custom
On the first day of the 2 days that Rosh hashana is observed, Taslich is what many Jews practice. The Rosh Hashanah custom of Tashlich is first mentioned in the Book of the Prophet Nehemiah, where it is written: "All the Jews gathered as one in the street that is in front of the gate of water."
Tashlich, which literally means casting off. And so we walk to a body of flowing water and throw pieces of bread into the water. The bread is a symbolic representation of one's sins, and in essence what we are doing is casting off our sins in preparation for a more pure year to come.
It is preferable to do Taslich by a body of water that has fish.
The Symbollism of Taslich
In Jewish mysticism we read that the water corresponds to the attribute of kindness. On Rosh Hashanah, we beseech G-d to treat us with kindness during the new year.
We walk to a body of water that has fish. For it is preferable to do Tashlich by water that has fish, for fish are not subject to the “evil eye”. Also interesting to think how it is that fish do not have eyelids, and so their eyes are always open. This symbolizes that nothing can be hidden from G-d. And just as fish may be caught in a fisherman’s net, so, too, we are caught in the net of judgment. This awareness hopefully helps to awaken us to be the best we can be and ask for forgiveness for our failings.
Fish also symbolize our hope to be fruitful and multiply like they do.
We throw our sins to the water so that the evil eye shall not affect us, just as it cannot affect the fish that are hidden under the water and we can get courage and hope through faith in G-d, for just like the fish like G-d never sleeps.
Apples Dipped in Honey
Apples Dipped in Honey
One of my favorite part of celebrating and observing Rosh Hashana is that we dip apples into honey. Jewish holidays are always full of symbolizime and the apples and honey are a symbol of our wishes for a sweet new year. It's yummy tradition and we also dip bread in honey (instead of the usual practice of sprinkling salt on it) at this time of year for the same reason.
Rosh Hashana Greeting L'shanah tovah
"For A Good Year"
The traditional way to greet someone is This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." More on that concept at Days of Awe.
Rosh Hashanah will occur
On the following days of the Gregorian calendar:
- Jewish Year 5771: sunset September 8, 2010 - nightfall September 10, 2010
- Jewish Year 5772: sunset September 28, 2011 - nightfall September 30, 2011
- Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 16, 2012 - nightfall September 18, 2012
- Jewish Year 5774: sunset September 4, 2013 - nightfall September 6, 2013
- Yom Kippur - The Day We Atone
The Day of Atonement is a day to practice self-denial, which is executed through fasting. The High Holy days begin with Rosh HaShanah and ends with Yom Kippur. .
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