WHAT IS ROSH HASHANAH ANYWAY?
Hint: not as simple as the new year
- •Literally it translates as the head of the year
- •But there are actually 4 New Years in Jewish time, and this one (the first day of the month of Tishrei) is the new year for....YEARS! (Particularly the שמיטה or sabbatical year when the land lies fallow and debts are forgiven and the jubilee or יובל when slaves were released and land returned to its original owners) also for planting and vegetables (but not trees - they have their own new year)
- •היום הרת עולם...Often translated as "today is the anniversary of creation or the world's birthday" - but I think a better translation is "today is the conception of the world" - ask me why, if you want.
- •יום הדיןYom HaDin - day of judgment. Right after the Mishnah tells us about the 4 New Years, it lists the four times that the world is judged. On Rosh HaShanah, the world passes before God as if we were sheep, as God evaluates our actions from the prior year. Talk to me about the sheep metaphor. There's a lot to discuss.
- •יום תרועהYom Truah - day of (shofar) blasts - looking forward as a warning of impending judgment or as a proclamation of redemption, reaching out as a mother cries worrying about her child, echoing back to Sinai, announcing the time to release debts or free slaves or return land (see above)
- •יום הזכרוןYom HaZikaron - day of remembrance - where God remembers what we've done, and we remember too.
- •Beginning of the ימים נוראים or אשרת ימי תשובהAka days of awe and/or 10 days of repentance
- •So many ways to dive into this holiday. Is it a beginning or an end to the year? Is it for us or for God?