Rosh

Hashana

(Jewish New Year)

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> Background

The biblical Jewish New Year is celebrated in the month of Nissan. It is written in the Book of Exodus, 12: 2: "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year." - this month the Israelites departed from Egypt, but over the years the Rosh Hashana was established in the month of Tishrei, and in the Mishna it is said:" On the first day of Tishrei, Rosh Hashana for years and Shmittin and Jubilees for planting and vegetables.”

In the Torah, the first day of Tishrei is not mentioned as Rosh Hashanah, but as a day of Teruah. Thus it is stated in Numbers, 29: 1: "On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets." This is the day of the reign of God, the Day of Teruah.

> The Story

There is no doubt that the reality of people sitting on their land led to Rosh Hashana will be in Tishrei, which is the beginning of the agricultural year: plowing, sowing, the beginning of the rainy season. These are the days of renewal for nature and man.

This Teruah day has gone through many changes and is involved in many traditions attributing it to Rosh Hashana. According to the tradition, Adam, the first man was created on the first day of Tishrei. It is the sixth day of the world’s creation. This is also the context to the judgement every man is facing on that day. As said in the Midrash Vayikra Raba, God days to Adam: “This is a sign for your sons that you have stood before me and you came out innocent, so your sons are going to stand before me on that day and come out innocent”.

There is no doubt that the day of the creation of man is a day that symbolizes the sanctity of life, it has already been said: "Anyone who loses one soul from the world, it is as if he hashad lost a whole world and anyone who sustains one soul from the world, it is as if he had sustained a whole world." The sanctity of human life is more important than all the sacred things, and hence the equality of human value - we are all human beings. In other words, we are all the sons of the first man - no man is greater than his friend.

The single-day biblical holiday became a two-day holiday. In ancient times, they determined the beginning of the month according to the New Moon, since they did not known whether the month will have 29 or 30 days. And indeed, one of the names of Rosh Hashana is “Cover”, a day in which the moon is covered. This is true for all the holidays in the diaspora, where they have a second holiday for the diasporas, except for Yom Kippur.

The essence of Rosh Hashana is in the prayers, the most important of which are: Mussaf, Malchut, Zichronot and Shofarot, in blowing a shofar, saying Tashlich by sea or water source, in holiday meals and many symbolic foods. Although these days are days of judgment, these are not days of sorrow but of joy, hope and optimism.

> In Zionism

In the Land of Israel, the holiday in many communities became a time of reckoning and soul-searching. In many kibbutzim and towns, they summarize the year that has passed and outline the vision of next year in long conversations. Long before the holiday, they wish each other "Shana Tova" and the press, radio and television are full of content that summarizes the outgoing year and introduces the new year. In many places, masses of people, even those who do not pray, go to the beach or water to the symbolic ceremony of "Tashlich," emptying their pockets and hoping to start a new year free of sin. During the month of Elul many groups go out to see the Selichot in Jerusalem, Zefat and other places. The prayers are recited in the middle of the night and carry a special and moving atmosphere.