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What is Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important Jewish holidays! In the Bible Numbers 29:1, we learn: And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation: You shall do no manner of work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you. Rosh Hashanah is the time when everyone is judged by G-d based on his or her deeds during the previous year. The resulting judgment is inscribed by G-d and the person’s future is determined for the following year. Though that judgment is inscribed, it is not yet sealed and can still be changed at least for another ten days. G-d waits until Yom Kippur to seal the book for the year. Rosh Hashanah has several names in Jewish tradition: the Bible refers to it as Yom Terua – the day of raising a cry, or the day of sounding the ram‘s horn, Yom Zichron Terua the day of remembering the Terua, and Yom Hadin - the Day of Judgment. Throughout synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah, the sounding of the ram‘s horn takes place at different points unless it falls on Shabbat, in which case the Shofar is not blown at all. The simple sound of the Shofar spiritually touches people on this holy day of soul-searching, repentance and judgment. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. This is a time for introspection, reflection and a time to repent for the sins of the previous year. The two holidays, so different yet complement each other as Rosh Hashanah is a festival of hope and happiness and Yom Kippur of fasting and awe.
Rosh Hashanah Wishes
On the first night of Rosh Hashanah we pray to be inscribed in the book of life, hoping for a good and happy year. Traditional greetings before, during and after Rosh Hashana include: Shana tova meaning: Have a good year and Ketiva vachatima tova: May you be inscribed and sealed for good. TO SEE A SHANAH TOVA WISHING IDEA PLEASE CLICK THE LINK.
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Blessings and Omens
During the meal of Rosh Hashanah Eve we wish ourselves and every one that the New Year will bring good fortune. Everyone knows some of the customs of Rosh Hashanah, such as bread and honey, and apple and honey, a new fruit, and eating other sweet dishes to make it a sweet year. Yet there is a range of traditions and customs that developed in each Diaspora according to the fruits and vegetables that could be found at the time of year in that area. When planning your own Rosh Hashanah Seder, you can be creative and develop your own English puns. When we say the prayers we see that the blessing ceremony is based on Hebrew puns involving the food in question. Those blessings are called Simanim, meaning signs. Yehi Ratzon, May it be Your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers that…and here comes the special ingredient: Before eating a date, tamar in Hebrew, we wish she yitamu hataim and Sheyitamu sonainu, that our enemies be ceased and May our misdeeds be cut down On the other hand we eat black eyed peas or beans called ruviah, a word that sounds like the Hebrew Harbeh, to increase, Sheirbu zechuyotainu, may our good deeds call out our merit before You. Selek, Hebrew for beets sounds like Yistalek meaning go away that is used to express the hope that our enemies disappear. We say Sheyistalku oyvainu, that our adversaries be removed. Carrots, Gezer in Hebrew, are eaten sheytamu gezerotynu, that our evil sentence, in Hebrew gzerot, be torn before you and our merits be read out before you. Pomegranates are been eaten becouse there are 613 commandments in the Torah for a Jew to fulfill. An individual pomegranate supposedly has 613 seeds and we hope that it be Your will that our merits be numerous as the pomegranate.'' Head of fish or sheep is eaten to show that it will be Your will that we should be at the head and not at the tail. By fish some add: May it be Your will that our merits be fruitful and multiply as do the fish. To learn more about Rosh Hashanah food traditions and meanings please click the link to Rosh Hashanah recipes
Rosh Hashanah recipes
When doing or experiencing something special from which we derive an uncommon pleasure or benefit we thank G-d and recite Shehecheyanu. The Shehecheyanu blessing praising G-d for granting us life, sustaining us, and bringing us to the present time is said twice on Rosh Hashanah where-as on other Holidays it is only recited one time. The first blessing is recited during the Kiddush of the first night to bless over the Yom Tov day. The second time the Shehecheyanu has to be recited over a new fruit that has not yet been eaten this season on the second evening of Rosh Hashanah after the Kiddush.
Tashlich means cast away and refers to an ancient custom that is based on the last verses of the Book of Micah 7:19. He will yet again have compassion on us, He will tread under foot our iniquities: and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thus on the first day of Rosh Hashanah Tashlich, the ceremony of casting the sins into the deep sea takes place. People gather at bodies of water, preferable those containing fish, and recited the Tashlich Prayer consisting of several chapters of Tehillim, Psalms, to symbolize the wish to get rid of the sins of the previous year and be forgiven by G-d.