Rosh Hashanah meaning Rosh=Head Shanah=Year (New Year)

Tonight is the Jewish New year, the start of the High Holidays. We, the Jewish nation are being judged by G-d on that day and  it is decreed who will live or die, who will be poor or rich and so on. The next 2 days are spent praying for a good, sweet new year with all the blessings. It is a solemn day as we are very aware that our fate is being decided up above. It’s a happy day too as we proclaim G-d as our king.

It’s a rich day full of traditions too. As we partake in the evening meal, we dip an apple in honey as a symbol of a sweet new year. We eat other symbolic foods called “simanim” as a hope for sweet new year. Examples are: head of a fish so that we can be “ahead” in life (success) Black eyed peas mean increase in Hebrew so we hope to increase our merits. Pomegranates as it has many seeds, we ask for many merits and sweet carrots carrots in Yiddish means increase so we ask to increase our merits. These are just some of them.

The next morning we go to the synagogue where we pray and hear blasts of the shofar (ram’s horn) which represents the trumpets of a people’s coronation of their king. It’s also meant to instill a feeling of repentance into our hearts. I’ll describe the scene a bit. After the reading of the Torah, a hush falls over the crowd. The shofar blasts are coming. Young and old know to be absolutely silent. You can hear a pin drop. A feeling of awe descends upon the synagogue. Children are standing near their parents, holding their hands. The baal tokeia (meaning the one who blows) brings the shofar to his mouth and starts to blow. The first blast sounds. A piercing cry through the air which awakens the heart of everyone assembled. People start thinking of their sins, some cry, most make resolutions for the coming year ahead and everyone beseeches for a happy, sweet new year and an end to all the bad tidings. After the blasts, everyone feels lighter and the congregation burst into joyous song. Then, the prayers are continued.

Due to time restraints I must end here but this will be continued.

Shana Tova!!

Advertisements