A New Beginning

5 years ago eglazer 0

As I walk into the shul on Rosh Hashana, I feel a new beginning. Not only the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new me. This is the time I get rid of my evils. In Hebrew it is said, “kera satan” meaning to tear the head of evil inclination. I, along with every Jew, become clean of my evils and I am starting with a fresh clean slate. Rosh Hashana begins the ten day window of repenting for our sins. The blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn, represents our cry for forgiveness. The shofar is blown over one hundred times, over the course of Rosh Hashana, and is blown again on Yom Kippur-the Day of Atonement and the end of the ten day window.

    Walking into the shul, I see the shine of the stain glass windows and I hear the beautiful voice of the cantor singing the prayers. The cantor is amazing but what is even more amazing is how everyone in the shul is Jewish and we are all united as one. On any other day we are all labeled as something; by our age, by our careers, etc; but on Rosh Hashana all of our labels disappear and we are just Jewish. We are all there celebrating the new year.

   Not only are we celebrating, but as I said, we are getting rid of our sins, because Hashem is now forgiving us, and he is “writing” us in his book that we should be forgiven. In order to make sure we are forgiven we say, “Hayom teamtzainu, hayom tevarchainu, hayon tegadlainu.” Meaning, today you will strengthen us, today you will bless us, today you will make us great. Once this is said, services conclude and everyone wishes one another a “L’shana Tova!” To a good year!

  When I arrive home from shul it is time for kiddush. We wash our hands and make the bracha for the challah. On any other occasion we eat a braided challah, not on Rosh Hashana. On the new year it is traditional to eat a round challah. Reason being is because, we roll the challah dough over and over to create a perfectly round challah, this is a symbol for our neshamas. As Rosh Hashana approaches we “roll out” our souls over and over until it has no more imperfections and we are free of our sins. This tradition of eating the round challah goes through Yom Kippur, when we are finally forgiven for our sins.

    Along with a round challah we have many other traditional foods. We eat apples and honey for a happy, healthy, and sweet new year, this is not the only fruit eaten. Pomegranates are eaten too. A pomegranate has about six hundred and thirteen seeds in them, the same amount as the number of mitzvahs in the  Torah. As the dessert we eat a honey cake because it is as sweet as our year should be.

     As the first day of Rosh Hashana draws to a close, I prepare for the next day, where this will happen all over again. Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday because in the times of the Beis Hamikdash, in Jerusalem, witnesses would determine when they saw the moon in order to, determine the new month. This would cause confusion depending on which day it was  the witnesses arrived to the Holy Temple.

    After a well celebrated holiday is over, I go to school the next day and I tell my friends what I did to observe the holiday and explain to them the customs of the new year, while I also do extra mitzvahs to start off a good, new year.