Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year. It is the first of the High Holy Days of which usually occur in the early autumn. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration.
Jews set the beginning of the new year in autumn, while other ancient civilizations such as the Persians or Greeks chose spring for that purpose, but in both cases the primary reason being agricultural – the time of sowing the seed and of bringing in the harvest. As a farmer this makes sense, reflecting on the fruits of our labor throughout the year and planning how to do better the next year.
It’s also the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of humanity’s role in God’s world. When we were given opportunity to live in abundance.
Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn) and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a “sweet new year”.
The greeting is “Shanah Tovah”, which means have a good year.
The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time of self reflection. On Rosh Hashanah Jewish tradition maintains that God opens the books of judgment of creation. The judgment is then pending and prayers and repentance are required. Then on Yom Kippur, the judgment is “sealed” although there are more chances to be forgiven as the year continues.
The American new year that consist of partying is very different from the Jewish new year. There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making “resolutions.” Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.
Reflection needs to happen to evolve. Many of us are very good about noticing what we do wrong but reflection does no good without resolution. During this time of reflection remember to forgive yourself and move on to how you can evolve from mistakes in the past.
Celebrate what’s sweet to come with your reflection and willingness to work hard in your journey. Rosh Hashanah reminds us to keep participating. You reap what you sow and we are all capable of abundance.