Happy Rosh HaShana! (Spec. Days & Occasions)

Happy Rosh HaShana (New Year!)

Rosh HaShana PomagranateMay your name be inscribed and sealed in the LORD’s Book of Life! Such is the greeting with which the People of Israel bless each other during the time of Rosh HaShana and the ensuing Days of Awe!

The Hebrew month of Elul (August-September), which brought us time of introspection, repentance and joyful anticipation of new beginnings, has come to an end! We are standing on the very threshold of the New Year, praying for HaShem’s guidance, His blessings and prosperity over the coming months! The Scriptural Feast of Trumpets is finally here!

Unlike a pagan New Year, (January 1st), which celebrates an ancient heathen deity of Janus, (a Roman god of gates, doors and new beginnings), the Feast of Rosh HaShana is a biblical holiday, prescribed by the Almighty for His People Israel. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’”(Lev. 23:23-25)

Although the Bible tells us to blow the Shofar in memorial of something, it does not really specify what we are to memorialize on this festive occasion. Through careful study of the holy texts, the Jewish sages have worked out a few important themes for this Holy Day. As we have mentioned earlier, the first of them is the beginning of a New Year, filled with high hopes for the LORD’s goodness and mercy in our lives.

Coronation Day

Another theme of this holiday is God’s royalty and His sovereignty over our existence. In this light, the Shofar (Ram’s Horn) announces God’s Kingship over His willing subjects: “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. The LORD has made known His salvation . . . With trumpets and the sound of a horn; Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.” (Ps. 98:1-2,6)


Judgment

Rosh HaShana also starts the period of ten days, known to the biblically savvy as the Days of Awe. These days lead up to the holiest days on the Jewish Calendar, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur in Hebrew. It is a good time to take stock of your life, ask for complete forgiveness for all the past mistakes and determine to walk even closer with our Loving Heavenly Father! According to a time-honored tradition, all those who repent sincerely and purpose to lead holy lives in the sight of Heaven, will have their lives inscribed in the Book of the Righteous of the LORD!

Remembrance

Rosh HaShana’s theme of Remembrance is believed to be linked to the fact that the LORD God of Israel “remembered” Sarah, Rachel and Hannah in their barrenness by giving each a very special child. May He also fulfill your dreams and fill your house with joy and plenty in the coming year!

Birthday of the World

According to Jewish tradition, Rosh HaShana is the Birthday of the world! By acknowledging the Creator of the world as our God and Savior, we are reminded that He is Big enough to solve all of our dilemmas and save us from all of our troubles!

Israel and Gentiles

During the solemn and happy occasion of Rosh HaShana, we blow the Shofar, (hence the name of the Feast of Trumpets), as a reminder to all the Chosen People of Israel of our exalted responsibility to guide the Gentile world of idolatry and apostasy back to the Holy One of Jacob and His Torah!

“The Rock of Israel,” therefore, calls upon all the faithful of the LORD to:
- examine their hearts, minds and lives,
- repent of all the wrongdoing in the past,
- seek for God’s forgiveness and His holiness;
- proclaim the Mighty One of Jacob as their Creator and King,
- rejoice in the fact that “our God truly remembers all who call upon Him,”
- and sound the joyful Shofar in unison with all the House of Israel, remembering that the LORD chose the House of Jacob to be the “Light unto the Gentiles” and “witnesses” that apart from the Living God of Israel there is no other deity in the Universe!”

Rosh HaShana 1May your coming Year be full of the LORD’s sweetness, His Goodness and His blessings!

Happy New 5773 Year!


Shana Tova, Shalom v’Brachot baShem!