About Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It literally means Head of the Year. It celebrated on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishri, which usually falls somewhere during September.

Little is said about it in the Bible except that it is to be celebrated as a Shabbat with blasts from the shofar, or ram’s horn, and offerings made at the Temple (Leviticus 23:23-25). It is still celebrated as a day of rest with a moving series of shofar blasts sounded during the evening and morning synagogue services. For this reason, the day is sometimes called Yom Teruah, or Day of Sounding.

On Rosh Hashanah, people greet each other with “L’shana tova!,” which means “Happy New Year!,” and send cards to friends and family. Apple slices are dipped in honey, then eaten after prayers asking G-d for a sweet new year. Honey cake, also sweet, is another popular holiday food.

Some may find it odd that this New Year falls on the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. There are two traditional answers. The first is that there was an agricultural calendar from pre-Sinai days that started the year in the fall, and the ancient Israelites kept the fall as the head of the year. Exodus 34:22 mentions a “feast of ingathering at the turn of the year.”

Another curiosity is that Rosh Hashanah is one of four New Years in the Jewish world. The New Year on the Jewish civil calendar and the new year of years, Rosh Hashanah is the most widely known and most celebrated. Nisan 1 is considered the first day of the Biblical calendar and thought to be the time when the Tabernacle was finished. Tu b’Shavat is the new year for the trees, while Elul 1 is the new year of the animals.

More about Rosh Hashanah

Historical Meaning

Spiritual Significance

Prophetic Fulfillment