Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur



While Rosh Hashanah means the “Head of the year” since it is believed that God created the world during the month of Tishrei; Yom Kippur, on the other hand marks the period of God's decision of people's fate.

Rosh Hashanah: First Day of Jewish New Year

  • Rosh Hashanah is the new year of the Jewish calendar. It falls in the month of Tishrei, occurs ten days before Yom Kippur.

  • Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, is the tenth day of Tishrei, after ten days of Rosh Hashanah.

  • Tishrei corresponds to the month of September-October on the secular calendar; it is the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar.

  • These ten days are Jewish High Holy days or Yoman Nara'im. So, Rosh Hashanah is in other words, a birth anniversary of the creation of the world.

  • Rosh Hashanah is observed in the first two days of Tishrei.

    Yom Kippur: Last day of the Jewish New Year
  • On Rosh Hashanah, it is a tradition to greet people 'L'Shanah Tovah', Hebrew for 'May you have a good year'. Although the idea behind Rosh Hashanah is life and death, the spirit of celebration remains during this period.

  • The Rosh Hashanah service usually runs from morning till the afternoon. In fact, it has its own prayer book called 'Makhzor'.

  • Also, 'shofar' is an important symbol for Rosh Hashanah. It is a sort of a trumpet made of ram's horn, and is merrily blown one hundred times on each day of Rosh Hashanah.

  • The shofar, however, is not blown if one of the days falls on Shabbat, the seventh day of the Jewish week and the Jewish day of rest.

  • The shofar is so integral to the festival that another name for Rosh Hashanah is 'Yom Teruah', that means 'day of the shofar blast' in Hebrew.

  • Another ritual of the New Year is Tashlich; i.e. a ceremony of “casting off” the sins of the previous year.

  • Moreover, other significant symbols like apples dipped in honey imply the hope for a sweet new year.

  • The eating of the apple in honey is traditionally accompanied by a prayer.

  • On the second night, it is customary to have a seasonal fruit. Pomegranates are a favorite choice among the Jews the belief says that the pomegranate contains 615 seeds- each for the mitzvoth; and Jews wish to have as many good deeds in the coming future as the number of pomegranate seeds.

  • Besides the ritualistic food, Jews indulge in other delectable cuisines like Carrot muffins, Sweet potato pie (pareve), Quince stew (Chorosht's be), and Persian cream puffs (Noon's Chamei) or Spiced-up Honey cake.

Rosh Hashanah: First day of Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah Prayers

Candle Lighting on the First Night of Rosh Hashanah

Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-d-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-va-nu l'had-lik ner shel Shab-bat v'shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe Who makes us holy with Your mitzvot and commands us to kindle the lights of the Sabbath and the holiday.

 

The Shehehiyanu on the First Night

Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam,
she-he-che-ya-nu v'ki-y'ma-nu v'hi-gi-a-nu laz'man ha-zeh.


Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who has granted us life, Who has sustained us,
and Who has enabled us to reach this festive occasion.


 

Candle Lighting on the Second Night of Rosh Hashanah

Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who makes us holy with Your mitzvot and commands us to kindle the lights of the holiday.


 

Find more...

.....................................................................................................................................................

Yom Kippur: Last day of the Jewish New Year

  • Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It marks the culmination of the ten days of Awe that follows Rosh Hashanah.

  • It is also sometimes referred as 'Sabbath of Sabbaths'; for it's the most sacred day of the Jewish New Year. It is also the day of maintaining peace among the people.

  • The Jews religiously undertake this responsibility of repentance and indulge in introspection. This ritual is known as 'teshuvah'.

  • Jews promise to forget all the old grudges during this period; ensuring peace and harmony. The Jewish belief tells that the High Holy Days decides who would live and who would die in the coming year.

  • The three essential components of Yom Kippur are Teshuvah, Prayer and Fasting.

  • Teshuvah is a ritual of repentance wherein people make amends to reconcile the bitter ties before attending the prayer. It is followed by a prayer that is the longest synagogue service in the Jewish year. It begins with the evening before Yom Kippur with a song called Kol Nidre (All Vows). The song asks for forgiveness from God for the vows not kept or forgotten.

  • Another prayer is Al Khet that is constantly repeated in intervals from nightfall till morning. This prayer also asks for forgiveness from God for the smallest sins committed.

  • Yom Kippur also instructs a 25 hour fasting. There are other days of fasting too, but the Torah (Jewish Bible) particularly instructs to observe this fast.

  • Some important customs of Yom Kippur are Pre-Yom Kippur fast, to gather the strength for the 25-hour fast; breaking the fast, returning to have a sumptuous meal; wearing white as a symbol of purity and giving charity.

  • These two days and the days in between are known as Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. Traditionally, the New Year does not call for celebration. But these days, Jews greet their fellow brothers by sending each other greeting cards and gifts. The Jewish New Year, beautified by rituals and traditions is indeed an invocation to the Lord.


.....................................................................................................................................................