Rosh Hashanah is the appropriately designated Hebrew name of the first of Jewish holidays. It literally translates to”Head of the year”. Rosh HaShanah is celebrated in the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. This holiday carries with it a spectrum of significance in the spirit of new beginnings. Rabbi Eliezer ben Shammua maintains that Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of the creation of man. The creation of man is certainly one important aspect of the holiday, but more traditionally Rosh Hashanah is seen as the beginning of the judgment period. It is believed that Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a period where the important books of the heavens are opened for review and all people are examined closely. The fate of everyone is carefully considered by the one and only G-d based on their deeds and merits.
Rosh Hashanah includes a spread of festive meals and traditions that symbolize the start of a fresh new year. It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey so as to symbolize the sweetness of the upcoming year. Pomegranates are often a key feature of any Rosh Hashanah menu symbolizing fertility and fruitfulness with its number of seeds thought to equal the commandments of G-d. It is also customary to eat the head of a fish to symbolize the beginning of the New Year, as well as to show that this new year should place us ahead as opposed to behind.
I recently stumbled upon this lovely article about the significance of being the head instead of the tail and I found it extremely relevant to our times. What do you think?
During the month before Rosh HaShanah, we blow the shofars every morning so as to awaken all those who are asleep or numb to the commandments of the Almighty. Rosh Hashanah if anything brings us ever closer to G-d. Shofars are blown to remind us of His strength and mercifulness. Like an alarm clock they call us to examine our path and reconsider. Are we pure at heart? Are we following His way the way He would want us to? What changes for the better had taken place in our lives? What do we need to work on? How can we constantly become better people? How can we grow in our Faith in Him? The resounding blasts of the Shofars are meant to vibrate through us and remind us that we are as small as He is big and that we are spirit before we are bodies. This recognition is meant to stir deeply felt intention to join G-d and make sure we stride safely on the path He reveals before us. That is one of the reasons why Rosh Ha’Shanah is also called Rememberance Day.
May we all have a new year sweetened by apples dipped in honey, blessed by the fruitful pomegranate and geared for success in being ahead and not behind on His path.