top of page
  • Writer's pictureMargit Kresin

Rosh HaShana רֹאֹשׁ הַשָּׁנָה

Rosh HaShana רֹאֹשׁ הַשָּׁנָה means "head of the year" in Hebrew and thus signals the beginning of the new civil, Jewish year. Jews all over the world celebrate it not in the first but in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar: to this day, the first month of the Jewish year is the spring month of Nissan, in which the Jewish Passover or Liberation and the Exodus from Egypt are celebrated. According to Jewish tradition, it reminds of nothing less than the beginning of the world, of beings and things, connected with the belief in a divine creation.

For believing Jews, Rosh Hashanah is one of the highest holidays and it ends ten days later with the festival of atonement, Yom Kippur.

Since Rosh HaShanah is a festival of joy in the hope that God will show mercy, this festival, which is also known as the Feast of Trumpets, is celebrated with omission. You put on festive clothes, if not white clothes. Like all high Jewish holidays, this festival begins on the evening before. People come together in the festively decorated synagogue to pray. On this day, the color usually predominates there - to emphasize the grandeur of the day.

We celebrated this festival last year at home with friends and family and decorated our living room with white candles and garlands. After brief explanations, we have celebrated the sacrament just as Yeshua had announced to his disciples. During the family home celebration, we shared the blessings over wine (grape juice) and bread. The bread and apple slices are dipped in honey. The sweet symbolizes a good, sweet year ahead.

For the New Year celebrations, the breads (challah) are not - as is usually the case - elongated and "braided", but rather round white breads are used. This is to symbolize the annual cycle. There are white candles on the table, which the housewife lights.

In addition to various types of fruit, pomegranate is also offered. It is eaten to symbolize life, in the hope that the good deeds will equal the abundance of the fruit kernels in the New Year. At our last celebration we tried to present a fruit that was as unknown as possible. While we eat the fruits and vegetables, we pronounce the following blessings: "Blessed are you, GOD, our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruits of the tree."

Sweet carrots (carrots steamed in honey and butter, Yiddish “mern”) are also offered so that they “increase” the money. On the laid table we also offer a fish to eat. The head (rosh) of the fish is considered a special delicacy.

The highlight of the New Year celebrations is traditionally the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn, which is intended to remind the believers of their moral duties and to encourage them to repent. Repentance and personal review are the reason why Rosh Hashanah begins what is traditionally referred to as the ten "days of awe.” In the religious imagination, these days are also considered to be the phase of judgment and judgment about who finds entry into the “book of life” and is blessed with good omens for the coming year. For Messianic Jews and Christians, the shofar blowing is at the same time an indication of the "sounding of the trumpet", with which not only the judgments of God over humanity begin, but also the resurrection of the dead who have fallen asleep in the Lord is announced (Revelation 8; 1 ; 1 Corinthians 15, 51 ff).

The Jewish New Year reminds Messianic Jews and Christians of the eternal truth in Romans 8, 32-34: God did not spare his own son, but gave him up for all of us to die. How should He not give us everything with him? Who else wants to accuse us? “God himself acquitted us. Who will judge us? Jesus Christ died for us. What's more, he rose from the dead. Now he sits at God's right hand and stands up for us. "

The most important and popular wish for the Jewish New Year is שנה טובה ומתוקה, shana tova u’metuka,, i.e. one wishes a good and sweet year (tov = good, metuka = ​​sweet, shana = year).

1 view


bottom of page