And now for the remotely interested :)
(5770 in the Jewish calendar) Guide for the Perplexed
Yoram Ettinger, September 18, 2009
Assembled from various Jewish Sages
1. The transient/tenuous nature of human beings is highlighted by the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (the birth of the New Year) and the departure of the previous year. Recognizing human mortality/limitations, Rosh Hashanah highlights humility, soul-searching, responsibility, renewal/rebirth and systematic education.
2. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the sixth day of The Creation, which produced the first human being. Rosh (Hashanah) means in Hebrew "beginning," "first," "head," "chief." The Hebrew letters of Rosh (øàù) constitute the root of the Hebrew word for Genesis, "Bereshit" (áøàùéú), which is the first word in Old Testament. Just like The Creation, so should the New Year and our own actions, be a thoughtful (brain-driven) – and not a hasty - process. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which means Genesis in ancient Akkadian. The Hebrew spelling of Tishrei (úùøé) includes the words of Genesis (áøàùéú). Rosh Hashanah is referred to as "Ha'rat Olam" (the pregnancy of the world), and its prayers highlight Motherhood, Optimism and the pregnancies of Sarah the Matriarch and Hanna, who gave birth to Isaac the Patriarch and Samuel the Prophet respectively. Sarah (the root of the Hebrew word, Israel) and Hanna (root of the Hebrew word for Pardon, Amnesty, Merciful) were two of the seven Jewish Prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Hanna, Deborah, Huldah, Abigail, Esther. Noah – who led the rebirth of humanity/world – also features in Rosh Hashanah prayers.
3. The Shofar (ritual horn ùåôø) is blown on Rosh Hashanah as a wake-up call to mend one's behavior. Rosh Hashanah is also called "Yom Te'roo'ah" (the day of blowing the Shofar). Shofar is a derivative of the Hebrew word for Enhancement/Improvement (Shipur ùôåø), which is constantly expected of human beings. It requires humility, symbolized by the Shofar, which is bent and is not supposed to be decorated.
The Shofar20 is the epitome of Peace-Through-Strength: It is made from the horn of a ram, which is a peaceful animal equipped with strong horns, in order to fend off wild animals. The numerical value of the Hebrew word,"ram" (àéì), is 41, equal to the value of "Mother" (àí).
While the blowing of the Shofar is a major virtue, listening to the Shofar is at least as pertinent a virtue. The Hebrew root of "listening" (äàæðä) is Ozen (àæï), ear, which contains the balancing mechanism in our body. Ozen is also the root for "Scale" (îàæðééí) and "Balance" (àæåï), which is the zodiac sign of the month of Tishrei. Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (when people balance their good deeds vs. bad deeds) are observed during the month of Tishrei.
4. The three ways of blowing the Shofar express the inner constant values (Te'kiyah ú÷éòä), the tenuous nature of human actions (She'va'rim ùáøéí) and the determined pursuit of faith-driven long-term vision (Troo'ah úøåòä). The last, and very long, blow of the Shofar (Te'kiyah Gedolah ú÷éòä âãåìä)) represents the hope for steadiness in face of challenges and threats.
The three series of b lowing the Shofar highlight liberty of human-beings under G-D's Kingdom (Malkhooyot îìëåéåú)), the centrality of history/memory/roots (Zichronot æëøåðåú) and enhancement (Shofarot ùåôøåú).
The blows of the Shofar represent the three Patriarchs, the three parts of the Bible and the three types of human beings on judgment day (pious, evil and mediocre).
Rosh Hashanah services include 101 blows of the Shofar, which is the numerical value of the Hebrew spelling of Michael (îéëàì), a Guardian Angel, which was one of the names of Moses.
5. The pomegranate - one of the seven species blessing the Land of Israel - features during Rosh Hashanah meals and in a key blessing on Rosh Hashanah: "May you be credited with as many rewards as the seeds of the pomegranate." The pomegranate becomes ripe in time for Rosh Hashanah and contains - genetically - 613 seeds, which is the number of Jewish laws (of Moses). It was employed as an ornament of the Holy Arc, the Menorah (candelabrum) and the coat of the High Priest. It is employed as an ornament for the Torah Scrolls. The first two letters of the Hebrew word for pomegranate, Rimon – which is known for its crown - mean sublime (Ra'm øí). The pomegranate (skin and seeds) is the healthiest fruit: high in iron, anti-oxidants, anti-cancer, decreases blood pres sure, enhances the quality of blood and the cardiac and digestion systems. Rimon is a metaphor for a wise person: Wholesome like a pomegranate.
6. Commemoration Day ("Yom Hazikaron" in Hebrew) is one of the names of Rosh Hashanah. One can avoid - rather than repeat - past mistakes by learning from history. The more one remembers, the deeper are the roots and the greater is one's stability and one's capability to withstand storms of pressure and temptation. The more stable/calculated/moral is the beginning of the year (Rosh Hashanah), the more constructive will the rest of the year.
Rosh Hashanah commemorates:
Faith in – and Awe of - G-D;
Optimism in the face of daily adversity;
The first human-being, Adam, who was created on the sixth day of The Creation;
The cycle of nature - seed planting season and the equality of day and night;
The opening of the Ark of Noah following The Flood;
The almost-sacrifice of Isaac (thou shall not sacrifice human beings);
The three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were conceived/born during the month of Tishrei, which is called "The Month of the Strong Ones" - Nature and the Patriarchs;
The release of Joseph from Egyptian jail;
The receipt of the Ten Commandment and the Torah;
Deliverance from spiritual and physical slavery (which inspired the Abolitionist movement);
The Prophet Samuel (who inspired the early Pilgrims, US Founding Fathers and the rebellion against the British) was conceived in Tishrey.
Reconstruction of the Second Temple and destruction of both Temples;
The ingathering of the Jews to the Land of Israel;
The first of the Ten Days of Personal, Annual Self-Examination (similar to a full service of one's car: brakes, airbag, gears, oil, filter, alternator, bearings, engine head, head-gasket, valve, belts, wheel alignment, piston, combustion, cooling system, distributor, electronic control unit and electricity).
7. Rosh Hashanah is universal – not just Jewish – stock taking (repentance) day (Yom Te'shuvah, Yom Ha'deen in Hebrew) - the first of the Ten Days of Atonement, culminating on Yom Kippur. A Hebrew word for atonement/repentance is Te'shuvah, which also means spiritual and physical Return to core values and to the Land of Israel. On Rosh Hashanah one is expected to plan a "spiritual/behavioral budget" for the entire year. The prerequisite for a wholesome "budget" is humility, a pre-condition for an effective "stock taking." The three Hebrew words, Teshuvah (Repentance/Atonement úùåáä), Shivah (Spiritual and Physical Return ùéáä) and Shabbat (Creation concluded ùáú) emerge from the same Hebrew root. They constitute a triangular (personal, national and spiritual) foundation, whose strength depends on the depth of Education and Commemoration. According to King Solomon, "The triangular cord cannot be broken."
May the curses of last year be over, and may we be worthy of next year's blessing,
Unashamedly plagarised from the Atlas Shrugs website.
God Bless my Jewish friends and fellow believers in the “Good” of mankind,for without you, “Da Joos” the world would be a very different place,full of far, far more EVIL than that which already exists.
I am a Christian, I ask “Da Joos” world wide, that you accept my thanks for your service to God and mankind.
Acknowledge and celebrate the Good for been Good,and the immeasurable gifts to mankind that Jewish civilization and scholarship has gifted to mankind.