Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On the first night of Rosh Hashanah

it is customary to greet one another with blessings and good wishes of Leshana tova tekatev v'techatem -- May you be inscribed for a good year!
The below is more for me, not you, but you may find it useful as you prepare for tonight...I know I need a refresher each and every year but to summarize, we eat, we drink, we pray, we light candles and we blow a horn.  All the other stuff takes care of itself if, you are a good person and live an honest life.
The two-day festival of Rosh Hashanah is observed on the 1st and 2nd days of Tishrei.  In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah literally means, "Head of the Year," and as its name indicates, it is the beginning of the Jewish year.  The anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, it is the birthday of mankind, highlighting the special relationship between G‑d and humanity. 
The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram's horn.  The shofar is sounded on both days of Rosh Hashanah (unless the first day of the holiday falls on Shabbat, in which case we only sound the shofar on the second day). The sounding of the shofar represents, among other things, the trumpet blast of a people's coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance; for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man's first sin and his repentance thereof, and serves as the first of the "Ten Days of Repentance" which will culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  Altogether, we listen to 100 shofar blasts over the course of the Rosh Hashanah service.
We eat a piece of apple dipped in honey to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, as well as many other special foods. All have special significance and symbolize sweetness, blessings, and abundance. 
We bless one another with the words Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim, "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."
We leave our old shortcomings behind us, thus starting the new year with a clean slate.
We go to a lake, river or to the sea and recite the Tashlich prayers, where we symbolically cast our sins into the water, in evocation of the verse, "And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea." We leave our old shortcomings behind us, thus starting the new year with a clean slate. 
And as with every major Jewish holiday, women and girls light candles on each evening of Rosh
Hashanah and recite the appropriate blessings. 
After the prayers each night and morning, we recite Kiddush on wine, make a blessing over the challah, and enjoy a festive repast.

1 comment:

  1. I love your traditions! I love the whole "what to eat on what day" or the "what to do on this day"! As you may or may not know I am not religious at all, but I respect all spiritual believes. Very nice Alya!


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