What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Rosh Hashanah is a sacred day in Judaism, known as the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah takes place on the first and second day of Tishri, which is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar year.

Rosh Hashanah and the Bible

The name Rosh Hashanah is not specifically described in the Bible. However, the day of importance, which is now known as Rosh Hashanah, was called Yom Ha-Zikkaron or Yom Teruah and is mentioned in the Bible passage Leviticus 23:24-25. The former phrase means "day of remembrance" and the latter stands for "day of the sounding of the shofar."

What Takes Place on Rosh Hashanah?

The Rosh Hashanah holiday is a time for introspection and considering the past year, while resolving to make the next year better. Celebrating Rosh Hashanah means that no work should take place during the day and the day is spent worshiping at synagogue and reading special text devoted to Rosh Hashanah. It is also in the synagogue where the worshipers hear the sounding of the shofar, which is a ram's horn which, when blown, sounds like a trumpet. This is one of the most important symbols of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

There are two symbolic rituals that are performed during Rosh Hashanah. The first is dipping apples in honey, which is symbolic for hope for a sweet new year. Another ritual is known as Tashlikh which means "casting off. " This takes place during the afternoon on the first day of Rosh Hashanah at a body of flowing water. The previous years sins are symbolically "cast off" by reciting a section from the Micah and emptying pockets usually filled with breadcrumbs into the water. The name "Tashlikh" and the practice itself are derived from the Biblical passage (Micah 7:18-20) recited at the ceremony: "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."

The Importance of Rosh Hashanah

This holiday remains to be one of the most important ones in the Jewish religion. Attending synagogue and performing the various ceremonies which go along with Rosh Hashanah is a wonderful way to keep this special holiday alive and engage in worship during this sacred Jewish holiday. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (which follows ten days later) are together called the High Holidays and are among the most important and holiest days of the Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah emphasizes reflection on one's actions, thoughts, words and goals.

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