Rosh Hashanah is today.
What is Rosh Hashanah?
It’s the Jewish New Year. Literally meaning “the head of the year” in Hebrew – is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days and is usually celebrated in September. Due to the Jewish calendar being based on the lunar cycle – like Easter is for Christians – it moves every year. In 2017, it begins on the night of 20 September 2017.
What happens during Rosh Hashanah?
Though it depends on which Jewish tradition is being followed, much time is spent at a synagogue. During services, a hollowed-out ram’s horn, known as a shofar, is blown, symbolizing a call to repentance. Many Jews also observe a tradition called tashlich, meaning “casting off” in Hebrew, in which they go to a nearby river or lake and throw pieces of bread, which signifies the washing away of sin.
It’s a holiday; isn’t there some eating involved?
Indeed. According to Chabad, an Orthodox organization, Rosh Hashanah meals usually include apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year. Other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served, depending on local custom, such as the head of a fish, to symbolize the “head” of the year and reflect the prayer “let us be the head and not the tail.” Pomegranates are used in many traditions, to symbolize being fruitful like the pomegranate with its many seeds. In addition, according to the Reform tradition, a round challah – a sweet bread – is eaten, symbolizing the circle of life.
What’s up next?
Rosh Hashanah marks the first day of the “10 Days of Repentance,” where Jewish people acknowledge their sins of the previous year and are judged for their sins by God. The 10 days end with Yom Kippur, which is the “Day of Repentance” and constitutes the holiest Jewish holiday.
Leviticus 23:23-25 states, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.”
Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) should be continually asking God to show us our sin. Then we should immediately confess our sins. We should always keep short accounts with God.
Today, pray for a Jewish friend, wish them a “Happy New Year”, and if opportunity presents itself, tell them about their Messiah.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001