Judaism Rosh Hashanah

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“May it be Thy will, O Lord, Our God, to grant us a year that is good and sweet.”

TISHREI is the Jewish month for the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah for instance celebrates God’s creation.

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah begins in the evening, and the family’s dress’ code is to be in their best clothes for a nice dinner with family and friends. Usually, the hallah loaf is baked in a braid, but on Rosh Hashanah, it is round, which reminds us that one year is over and a new one is beginning, just like a circle, the circle of life.

With a piece of bread dipped into honey, we wish each other a happy New Year saying: “May the New Year be sweet.” Another way to do it is by saying the Hebrew words, “Shanah Tova, a good year”. In the synagogue the shofar is blown as in the ancient time, and when the families leave the sanctuary, they sometimes walk to a nearby lake or river to throw away bread crumbs into the water and watch them float away, so it gives us a feeling of throwing away the bad things from the past year, so may God will write our names in the Book of Life.

What Happens at the Rosh Hashanah service

During Rosh Hashanah service is full of special prayers, which makes it longer than the usual ones. One of the most famous prayers during the liturgy is the U-ne-ta-neh Toh-kef about life and death:

“We shall ascribe holiness to this day.
For it is awesome and terrible.
Your kingship is exalted upon it.
Your throne is established in mercy.
You are enthroned upon it in truth.
In truth You are the judge,
The exhorter, the all knowing, the witness,
He who inscribes and seals,
Remembering all that is forgotten.
You open the book of remembrance
Which proclaims itself,
And the seal of each person is there.
The great shofar is sounded,
A still small voice is heard.
The angels are dismayed,
They are seized by fear and trembling
As they proclaim: Behold the Day of Judgment!
For all the hosts of heaven are brought for judgment.
They shall not be guiltless in Your eyes
And all creatures shall parade before You as a troop.
As a shepherd herds his flock,
Causing his sheep to pass beneath his staff,
So do You cause to pass, count, and record,
Visiting the souls of all living,
Decreeing the length of their days,
Inscribing their judgment.
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed. ()

The prayer goes on, always sanctifying God’s name, power, and mercy. During the service with the sound of the Shofar, the feeling of peace and serenity is granted to the ones who remain their faith in God as one and only power in the universe.

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