Rosh Hashanah is an annual celebration of the Jewish New Year. This is considered to be one of the most important dates in the Jewish calendar, and is the beginning of the High Holy Days. This is a period that stretches ten days and finally ending on Yom Kippur, which is considered to be the holiest day of the entire year. During Rosh Hashanah, the whole of G-d’s creation is celebrated.
Rosh Hashanah Overview
Rosh Hashanah is not only the literal start of the new year but also the start of the impacts we will experience for the rest of the year. All actions will result in major impacts, and this holiday allows us to reflect on what the effects of our actions will be.
During Rosh Hashanah, prayers areread that speak of “all of the world’s inhabitants pass before G-d like a flock of sheep.” It is also decided within heaven who is to live and die, who will be poor and who will have riches, and who will fall and rise. Prayers are said throughout the day, asking G-d for a peaceful year that is full of success and blessings. It is also a day filled with joy ask G-d is exalted as being the one and true G-d.
Blowing of the Shofar
Perhaps the most iconic aspect of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar. This is a twisted or curved ram’s horn that is sounded on each day of the holiday, unless that first day happens to land on Shabbat. During years when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, the shofar will only be blown on the second day.
After the Torah is read in the morning, the shofar is blown 30 times. However, it will be blown up to 70 more times while Musaf services are held, as well as right afterward. Throughout Rosh Hashanah morning services, the shofar will get blown up to 100 times. There are even certain Jewish communities that will blast off another 30 blows of the shofar horn after services are finished.
Those who are unable to make it to a synagogue, will still probably hear the blowing of the shofar if you live nearby a synagogue. Alternatively, it may sometimes be possible to talk with a Chabad center in your area and receive a “house call” to hear it. Also, you can simply buy a shofar horn yourself and learn how to blow it!
There are three different kinds of shofar blasts that are done. These are:
- Tekiah – A long sobbing-like sound
- Shevarim – Three consecutive and brief wails
- Teruah – Nine or more incredibly alarming and high-pitched bursts
The Binding of Isaac occurred on Rosh Hashanah, where a ram became the sacrificial offering to G-d in place of Isaac. This is why the ram’s horn is used. However, it is also a representation of G-d being King of the Universe. Since trumpets were sounded for a king, the shofar is symbolic of sounding trumpets for G-d playing the role of the ultimate King.
- When Is Rosh Hashanah?
To answer the question of when is Rosh Hashanah we first need to understand when the Jewish New Year begins. This would be in early September of 2021, during Tishrel 1 and 2, with a start at sundown on Tishrel 1. In the Gregorian calendar, this translates to September 6th and goes up to sundown on September 8th.
Rosh Hashanah Blessing
A Rosh Hashanah blessing will usually involve candles and a combination of apples and honey. Candles have a place during all of the main Jewish holidays. Women and girls will be lighting candles during the evenings of Rosh Hashanah, and will also be reciting a Rosh Hashanah blessing. There will be a different blessing for each day of Rosh Hashanah, with the Shehechiyanu blessing being recited on the second day.
There is also a Rosh Hashanah blessing said preceding the enjoyment of apples dipped in honey. Challah with honey is a nice treat that can be had before the evening meal. Pomegranate is also sometimes used instead of apples. There is a symbolic significance to using a pomegranate because it’s said that you can count the number of seeds that are in the pomegranate and find out how many good deeds you are going to do in the new year.
While not exactly a verbal recitation of a blessing, tashlich is a sacred ceremony performed during Rosh Hashanah on the first afternoon of the holiday (as long as it is not during Shabbat). This is a ceremony that involves going into a body of water, such as a river, lake, or ocean, and ceremonially casting your sins into the water. After reciting a brief prayer, you will be cleansed and can begin the new year pure.
There are many different kinds of foods eaten during the Blessing Meal. They all symbolize wishes for the coming new year. The foods that are eating during the Blessing Meal are:
- Small beans
- Apple with honey
- Head of a kosher animal or fis
There are several different kinds of Rosh Hashanah gifts you can get to elevate the spirit of the holiday. Holy Sands has a wide variety and assortment of different kinds you can purchase for Rosh Hashanah.
If you would like to elevate your experience of challah and honey, you can get pure Israeli honey that will taste just like this delight was originally meant to. You can also have your choice of pomegranate wines, and even get a fancier version of it like a pomegranate port. Finally, you can take your pick from all of the different kinds of shofars and tallit & tefiliin bags Holysands offers. If you want to have the largest and most resounding shofar possible, an extra-large Yemenite shofar will be perfect. If you prefer to go with the popular and classic medium Yemenite shofar, you can do that as well. If a small shofar is more what you are looking for, Holy Sands carries them as well.
Rosh Hashanah is the start of the Jewish New Year, and with that comes the opportunity for new beginnings and a fresh start. Enjoy the holiday with these Rosh Hashanah gifts or give them to your friends, family, and loved ones.