Rosh Hashanah- a very sweet and serious holiday

Posted on September 16, 2022

Rosh Hashanah, literally is translated as “head of the year.”  This refers to the Jewish New Year where this September, the Jewish year will become 5783.  Traditionally, it is taught that the world was created on Rosh Hashanah.  Like the secular New Year, the Jewish one is celebratory.  We dip apples and challah into honey.  We make a honey cake, too.  This represents our desire for a sweet new year ahead full of blessings.

And yet, there is a gravity to this holiday.  Rosh Hashanah is considered to be the Day of Judgment where God scrutinizes our acts over the past year to see if we will merit life with blessing.  And so, we sound the shofar, the ram’s horn, to awaken ourselves to repair breeches in relationships, heal hurts we have caused and rectify any wrongdoing that we have done.  

This holiday is so serious that we have an entire month prior to Rosh Hashanah called Elul, to prepare ourselves for it.  We give to charity, we say we are sorry to others, and we pray.  We pray for forgiveness.  We pray for the fortitude to make improvements in our character and we take responsibility for all the things we have said and done.  

For Jews, this is one of the most important holidays to come together as a community.  We change the Torah covers to white to represent our desire to purify ourselves and some even wear white clothing to the synagogue.  Some Jews observe one day as it is written in the Torah (the five books of Moses) and others observe two days (as Jews have practiced outside the land of Israel) but regardless, it is still an important time to bring our community, family, and friends together.  We wish everyone a sweet and healthy New Year for you and your families.  Shanah tovah.

~Rabbi Nancy Myers