Rosh Hashanah Marks Start Of High Holy Days
Starting at sundown on September 28 and going on until nightfall on September 30, Jewish people throughout the world and here in New York City will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah, actually one of four new years in the Jewish year, is considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world. The Hebrew date for Rosh Hashanah is 1 Tishrei 5772.
Though Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year”, the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. The Talmud tractate on Rosh Hashanah states that three books of account are opened on Rosh Hashanah, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of an intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life, and they are sealed “to live”. The middle class are allowed a respite of 10 days, until Yom Kippur, to repent and become righteous; the wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living forever”. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are viewed as an opportunity for Jews to repent (teshuvah) and ensure a good fate.
Thoughtfully reviewing one’s conduct 10 days before joining a day set aside for atonement sounds to us a good way to occupy some time and thought, even for those of us who are not born, bred and brought up in the ways of the People of the Book. A little introspection never hurt anyone and could lead to better things in tumultuous lives. It is a practice worth pursuing.
We wish all our Jewish readers a Happy New Year. May peace and prosperity be theirs throughout the year that begins on 1 Tishrei 5772.