Shanah Tovah: שנה טובה

The Feast of Trumpets

A new year means both reflection and rejoicing

A Good Year

Leviticus 23: 23-25 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.”

2022, September 25-27

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, a period of time celebrating a new year, reflecting on the past year, and setting things right for the year to come. The celebrations include candle lightings, gatherings for meals, sweets, prayer services, and the blowing of the shofar, a traditional horn of Jewish culture since God provided a ram in place of Isaac (Genesis 22).

Each element of the tradition is symbolic. The candles and their prayers remind the people that God, King of the Universe, sanctifies and sustains life. The feasts celebrate community, a returning to the sacred gatherings that connect the Jewish people scattered throughout the world. The food includes round Challah that symbolizes the cycle of the year, pomegranates that represent abundant blessings, and apples dipped in honey as a promise for a sweet new year. The shofar serves multiple purposes: a reminder to come to prayer, a calling to repentance from sin, and a triumphal shout of reverential awe that God, creator of all things, is King over heaven and earth.

Most important is the call to reflection and repentance, particularly as the High Holy Days draw to a close at Yom Kippur. Throughout the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur the people are called to focus on God’s sovereignty over all of creation, including humans and that His justice is perfect in all things. It is a sobering thought that should lead to self-examination, community-examination, and repentance, both individual and corporate.

The Feast of Trumpets, as Rosh Hashanah is called in English, is a call to come to the Lord. The celebration is a response to the mercy of God as we repent of our sins. God is faithful and just (Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 John 1:9). and will forgive us when we confess. It is good to stop and reflect on the great mercy and love of God who sent His Son, the Messiah, to make a way for us to be reconciled to Him. It is a holy moment when we connect to our Creator and Savior in humility and adoration. And that connection to God in that holy moment is a reason for tremendous joy.

Rejoice in the Lord, always! Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord! This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it! I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothes me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness! Again I will say, rejoice!

(Psalm 64; Psalm 97; Psalm 118; Isaiah 61; Philippians 4)

More information about Rosh Hashanah:

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