10 Facts About Rosh Hashanah

Commonly known as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah translates into ‘head of the year’ and serves as a serious, holy time for observers unlike the jubilant times associated with other New Year celebrations. Taking place on the first and second days of Tishri, the holiday appears on the calendar during the months of September or October.

The Background of Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is referred to as many different names, such as ‘Day of Remembrance’ and is seen as a day where Jews honor the creation of the world and how God bestowed upon them the responsibilities of becoming His ‘chosen people.’ In the Bible, the holiday is known as Yom Teruah (Day of the Shofar) or Yom Ha-Zikkaron (which translates into Day of Remembrance). The Day of Remembrance is also a time where Jews review the history of their faith and pray for Israel.

Because of the characteristic blasts of the shofar (a horn associated with Jewish ceremonies) that take place on this day, it takes on the name Day of the Shofar. Some people also refer to the holiday as the Day of Judgment, as there is a belief that this is the day (in conjunction with the Days of Awe) where God judges all of his people and decides on their fate in the next year. It is during this time that followers of the Jewish faith spend a great deal of time making amends with their relationship with God.

In religious texts, appears in Leviticus 23:23-25: “And HaShem spoke unto Moses, saying: “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns, a holy convocation. Ye shall do no manner of servile work; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto HaShem.”

10 Facts About Rosh Hashanah

To learn more about the Jewish faith, it is important to become familiar with traditions, customs, and observances, such as Rosh Hashanah. Below you will find an assortment of facts concerning this significant holiday:

1.    The ‘shofar blast’ plays an important role in Rosh Hashanah, as it satisfies the biblical command of a “blast of horns,” which is read in Leviticus 23:24 and Numbers 29:1. On each day of the holiday, a total of 100 blasts take place at the synagogue , taking the form of four different tones. However, it is important to note that the shofar is not blown if Rosh Hashanah falls on a Sabbath. The horn is used to wake up oneself so that they may recollect their deeds and prepare for repentance.

2.    When it comes to Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the only observances associated with the faith that are based purely on religious beliefs. Other major celebrations (like Passover and Sukkot) have tied to historical or agricultural events.

For additional facts concerning Rosh Hashanah, check out the second part of this article, where you will encounter details regarding the theme of the holiday, fruits with specific meanings, and traditional foods served during the observance.