...In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. - Leviticus 16:24
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown today.
It's the birthday of the world.
It begins the High Holy Days of the Jewish calendar.
For all my friends and readers - no matter what your faith or belief - My wish to you and yours:
"L'shanah tovah tikateiv v'taichateim"
"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."
The central mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar. The shofar is a ram's horn, the oldest and most primitive of wind instruments, yet its call touches the innermost chords of the soul. Even if one cannot participate in the whole service, one should at least attempt to hear the sounding of the Shofar.On the first day of Rosh Hashanah in the afternoon it is customary to go to a lake or river and say the Tashlich prayer and toss some bread into the water. This reminds us to leave our sins "into the depths of the sea" (Micha7:19) and start a new lease on life.
The sound of the shofar is to awaken people to repent and return to G-d. It is a call to evaluate our actions and improve our ways. The sound represents a simple, unaltered outcry of a person who wishes to come close to G-d but cannot find the words. G-d responds to that by granting us a good and sweet year.
On Rosh Hashanah we customarily eat foods that symbolize sweetness and abundance. We dip Challah into honey, and on the first night, we dip a piece of apple in honey and after the blessing on the apple we add, "May it be your will to renew for us a good and sweet new year."
On the second evening, right after Kiddush, we eat a new seasonal fruit we have not eaten this year (like pomegranates) and say the "Shehecheyanu" [prayer] praising G-d for bringing us to this day.
The New Year is a time to give to charity and do good deeds - to repair broken relationships - to apologize and make make amends with those we have wronged - and to take stock of what we are doing with our lives. It's a time of spiritual examination.
"The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram's horn, which 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, the shofar is sounded 100 times in the course of the Rosh Hashanah service."I wish for you and yours that this coming new year be a sweet one filled with Health, Happiness and Prosperity.