At sunset on the 20th September 2017, corresponding to the last day of the Hebrew month of ‘Elul’, Jewish people all over the world will begin celebrating ‘Rosh Hashanah’, the Jewish New Year.
‘Rosh Hashanah’ literally means ‘head of the year’; it is observed on the first day of ‘Tishrei’ as ordained in the ‘Torah’, in Leviticus 23:24: ”Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ’In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation’”.
This year, ‘Rosh Hashanah’ begins the year 5778 in the Hebrew calendar
‘Rosh Hashanah’, the first of the High Holidays, is also known as ‘Yamim Noraim’ (Days of Awe), or ‘Asseret Yemei Teshuva’ (Ten Days of Repentance). It is the beginning of the most solemn days of the Jewish year, which conclude with ‘Yom Kippur’ (Day of Atonement).
Jewish people believe that on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ the destiny of all mankind is recorded by G-D in the “Book of Life”. The ‘Talmud’ tractate on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ states that three books of account are opened on ‘Rosh Hashanah’, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life, and they are sealed “to live”, the intermediate class are allowed a respite of ten days until ‘Yom Kippur’ to “repent and become righteous” and the wicked are “blotted out” of the book of the living.
Although ‘Rosh Hashanah’ is widely known and celebrated as the Jewish New Year, it actually has a fourfold meaning: It is the Jewish New Year, the Day of Judgment, the Day of Remembrance, and the Day of ‘Shofar’ Blowing.
• Day of Judgment
As Jews worldwide examine their past deeds and asks for forgiveness for their sins.
• Day of Remembrance
As Jews review the history of their people and pray for Israel.
• Day of ‘Shofar’ Blowing
The ‘Shofar’ (ram’s horn) is blown in ‘shul’ (synagogue) to herald the beginning of the ten day period known as the High Holy Days.
• New Year's Day
As Jews celebrate the Jewish New Year with holiday greeting cards, special prayers, and festive and sweet foods (to ensure sweetness in the New Year).
After Rosh Hashanah services, as the congregants leave the synagogue, they say to each other..."May you be inscribed in the Book of Life"
On the first day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’, after the afternoon service, Jews visit a body of water or a pond; they then throw bread crumbs or pebbles into the water to symbolically "cast away" their sins.
On Rosh Hashanah it is customary for families to gather together for the holiday meal. Traditional foods sweetened with honey, apples and carrots are served, symbolizing sweetness, blessings, abundance and the hope for a sweet year ahead.
The first night's meal begins with apple dipped in honey. ‘Challah’, the bread usually eaten on the ‘Shabbat’ (not braided as the ‘Shabbat Challah’, but instead baked in a circle - a wish that the coming year will roll around smoothly without unhappiness or sorrow), is also dipped in honey before eating the meal.
‘Rosh Hashanah’ is observed as a day of rest (Leviticus 23:24) and the activities prohibited on ‘Shabbat’ and on all Jewish holidays are also prohibited on ‘Rosh Hashanah’.
‘Rosh Hashanah’ is characterized by the blowing of the 'Shofar’, intended to awaken the listener from his or her "slumber" and alert them to the coming judgment.
Sadly, no amount of “bread thrown into water” and no amount of repentance will grant Jewish people forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven.
There is only one way to forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven, and that is through Yeshua and the work of the cross.
I, as an Orthodox Jew who, by the grace of G-D, recognize that Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah we Jews have been waiting for, pray that G-D will remove the veil He has sovereignly place over the minds and hearts of the Jewish people concerning the Messiahship of Yeshua.
He is the Messiah Jewish people are waiting for.
We, at Emet Ministries, take this opportunity to wish Jewish people the world over ‘Shanah Tova’. May the year ahead be a good, sweet year that will be without unhappiness and without sorrow.
My prayer for my people, whom I love passionately, is that the year ahead for all Jewish people, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, will be filled with blessings, abundance and the hope for a sweet year ahead.
But more than this, I echo the words written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:1: “My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
This is the cry of my heart for all Jewish people: ‘This year, through Yeshua, "May you truly be inscribed in the Book of Life"’.