"YOM TERUAH, SHANA TOVA UMETUKA,
HAVE A BLAST, GIVE A SHOUT, HAPPY & SWEET YEAR!"
Sunday, Sundown, September 25th Thru
Tuesday, Sundown, September 27th.
In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a Sabbath for you,
a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. Leviticus 16:24
Jewish HolyDay Traditions
The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.
The Month of Elul
This time of year is the time when God's closeness to us is most easily grasped. It is as though an invisible curtain that we ourselves designed through bad choices, fear and pain can now be drawn aside. Elul is compared to the time of year that God, by way of parable, is likened to a human king who resides in his palace and is virtually inaccessible to the average person. Once a year, the king tours his kingdom with the goal of getting to know his subjects. Anyone can go to the royal personage and tell him whatever is on his mind and in his heart know that the king is there to hear him. In Aramaic (the vernacular of the Jewish people at the time that the month names were adopted), the word "Elul" means "search," which is appropriate, because this is a time of year when we search our hearts. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 KJV How do we find the King? There are various practices for Elul that Jewish Observers use to attune to God’s power.
Reciting Psalm 27
King David, the Talmud tells us, was given some of Adam's lifespan. Thus, like Adam, his life journeys are a composite of every spirit & soul that will ever be placed in a body. The book of Psalms gives us words that touch the essence of every possible human experience from the deepest possible angle. Psalm 27 is the one that helps us resolve the conflict between our bodies, our souls and our spirits. The first verse says it all, "God is my light." This means that HE not only created the physical world, but He guides us through it with HIS light. Just as the Sunrise allows light in a dark room helps us recognize that the giants, lions and bears of our lives flee like shadows, when the Sun/Son/Daystar arises to remove the darkness of our fears, tears and inadequacies.
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Malachi 4:1-2 KJV
The Selichot prayers begin in Elul (Sefardic Jews begin on the first of Elul, while Ashkenazi Jews begin the last Motzei Shabbat) and continue until Yom Kippur. The main theme in Selichot is the Attributes of Divine Mercy. God revealed His true nature to Moses when he begged to know God as much as a mortal can. “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:7 KJV
The Various Names
Yom Teruah is also called Rosh Hashanah. It is observed on the 1st and 2nd days of Tishrei. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "Head of the Year," and as its name indicates, it is the beginning of the Jewish year. The anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, it is the birthday of mankind, highlighting the special relationship between God and humanity. The primary theme of the day is our acceptance of God as our King. The Sages teach that the renewal of God's desire for the world, and thus the continued existence of the universe, is dependent upon this. We accept God as our King, and God is aroused, once again, with the desire to continue creating the world for one more year. As John said, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV
Blowing The Shofar
The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the Synagogue. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day. There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance. The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand.” Joel 2:1 KJV
No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is spent in the synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded. In fact, there is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays. A popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
Psalm 34:8 KJV
Casting Off Our Cares
Another popular practice of the holiday is Tashlikh ("casting off"). We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off. This practice is a long-standing custom. Tashlikh is normally observed on the afternoon of the first day, before afternoon services. When the first day occurs on Shabbat, many synagogues observe Tashlikh on Sunday afternoon, to avoid carrying the bread on Shabbat. “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 KJV
The New Years
Religious services for the holiday focus on the concept of God's sovereignty. The common greeting at this time is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."
You may notice that the Bible speaks of Rosh Hashanah as occurring on the first day of the seventh month. The first month of the Jewish Calendar is Nissan, occurring in March and April. Why then, does the Jewish "new year" occur in Tishri, the seventh month?
Judaism has several different "new years," a concept which may seem strange at first, but think of it this way; the American "new year" starts in January, but the new "school year" starts in September, and many businesses have "fiscal years" that start at various times of the year. In Judaism, Nissan 1 is the new year for the purpose of counting the reign of kings and months on the calendar, Elul 1 (in August) is the new year for the tithing of animals, Shevat 15 (in February) is the new year for trees (determining when first fruits can be eaten, etc.), and Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years (when we increase the year number. Sabbatical and jubilee years begin at this time).
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:3-7 KJV
So, no matter what the times and seasons of our lives, state of this world or the end of this age…He can make “All Things New”!!!
David J Sagil, MJR Director
MJR (Ministry of Jewish Relations)
MCM (Multi-Cultural Ministries)
UPCI (United Pentecostal Church Int'l)
2043 N 78TH Ave
Elmwood Park, IL 60707