Rosh Hashanah (Rosh Ha-SHA-nah) is the first of the three great feast days celebrated in the Fall and marks the beginning of the “High Holy Days.” However, the name “Rosh Hashanah” is never actually used in the Bible to commemorate this holiday. The Bible and Torah both refer to this feast as “Yom Teruah” (the day of the sounding of the shofar). Today, few people remember the biblical name of Yom Teruah, and instead, it is more widely known as “Rosh Hashanah” or “Feast of Trumpets.”
The traditional Jewish calendar is based on a lunisolar calendar, with 354 days. This means that while Jewish holidays are observed on the same date every year according to the Jewish calendar, these dates vary on the Gregorian calendar. The celebration of this date falls somewhere between the second week of September through the End of October.
Follow the link for future dates of this Feast Day: https://www.infoplease.com/calendars/holidays/jewish-holidays
The Lord’s Commandment
“In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
Leviticus 23:24 (NKJV)
“And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets.”
Numbers 29:1 (NKJV)
Yom Teruah is commonly translated as “blowing of trumpet.” Teruah literally means to make a loud noise. This word is used to describe the sound made by the trumpet but can also represent the noise made by a large gathering of people shouting in unison. Interestingly, Yom Teruah is the only commanded feast day that the Lord does not give a specific reason for its celebration, only that it is to be observed as a holy day. There are many speculations about what the observance of this day represents, but scripture only tells us it is a “memorial of blowing of trumpets.” It’s true purpose and meaning are a mystery only known to God.
Every other Feast date was determined by the counting of days between the Feasts, but Yom Teruah was unique. This is the only Feast determined by observing the appearance of the New Moon in the month of Tishri. Watchmen were traditionally set on the wall to watch for the moon to become visible, blowing their trumpets at the first sign of its sighting, signifying the start of this feast day. Because the possibility of atmospheric conditions or human error could make it difficult to identify the appearance of the New Moon, it was often referred to as the day and hour unknown or hidden.
The name “Rosh Hashanah” means “head of the year” or “first of the year.” The present Jewish calendar consists of two basic types of years, the religious and the civil year. Rosh Hashanah is observed in Tishri, the month that begins the Jewish civil new year and the date on which the year number advances in Jewish culture. However, scripture ascribes this feast day to the seventh month because the Bible is based on the religious calendar. Nissan is the month designated as the first month by the Lord as the Hebrew New Year and is considered the beginning of the new religious year.
Rosh Hashanah is also the beginning of the 10 Days of Repentance (also known as the 10 Days of Awe), ending on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Jewish tradition asserts that God writes every person’s words, deeds, and thoughts in the Books of Life or Death, which He opens and examines on this day (Rosh Hashanah). If their good deeds outnumber the sinful ones for the year, that person’s name will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year on Yom Kipper. For this reason, Rosh Hashana is also known as the “Day of Judgement” or Yom Hadin.
For the Jewish people, it is a time of introspection, personal growth, and spiritual rebirth. This is accomplished through forgiveness: apologizing, forgiving, and receiving forgiveness. Many use this time to make amends with loved ones and heal broken relationships. By the time Yom Kippur arrives, they are ready to begin the new year with clean hearts.
Rosh Hashanah is centered around the sounding of the shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn). On both mornings during the Rosh Hashanah synagogue services, the shofar is blown 100 times. The first 30 blasts are blown following the Torah reading during morning services, and as many as 70 are blown during and after the service. However, if the first day of this festival happens to fall on Shabbat, the shofar is silent and will be sounded the following day.
Feast Day Customs
As with most major Jewish feast days, women and girls light candles each evening of Rosh Hashanah and recite the appropriate blessings before the meal. Symbolic foods are often eaten to remind them of God’s promises, provision, or mercy.
On the first night (beginning at sunset) of Rosh Hashanah, apples are dipped in honey and eaten in hopes of invoking a “sweet” new year. Before eating the apple, the people recite the saying, “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year.” Challah bread is baked into a round shape to represent the unending cycle of life and creation in which there is no beginning or end. In some Jewish communities, people eat the head of a fish at this meal, asking God that in the coming year, they will be “a head and not a tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:13)
On the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah (provided that it is not Shabbat), it is customary to go to a body of water (ocean, river, pond, etc.) and perform the “Talisch” ceremony by tossing breadcrumbs, which represents the casting of their sins, into the water. This tradition symbolizes evoking the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
After observing a commanded day of rest, the second night of festivities begins after sunset. On this night, a “new fruit,” or one that had not been tasted since the last time it was in season, is eaten to symbolize the new season they were beginning. Many families complement the eating of this fruit with the Shehecheyanu (Prayer) “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.”
Jesus – The Last Trump
Seven annual feasts of Israel were given to the Israelites. The first four of the seven feasts occur during the Spring (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Weeks), and Christ has already fulfilled them all in the New Testament. The final three feasts (Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) that occur during the Fall, have yet to be fulfilled by Jesus.
God does have a book of life; Revelations 21:27 calls it the “Lambs Book of Life.” The only way to have one’s name inscribed in it is through faith in Jesus as Savior from sin. He alone has the authority to judge the sins of man (John 5:24-27). Those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be judged and sentenced to spend eternity separated from God.
It is not a coincidence that this day is also known as the “Day of Judgment.” Some believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Yeshua will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. Judgment is then placed on those who remain, and they will face a time known as the “great tribulation” or the wrath of God. It is during this time, all of mankind are given one last opportunity to repent and turn to Jesus to receive salvation.
The Rapture of the Church is associated in scriptures with the sounding of a loud trumpet. However, the day and hour of this coveted day are a mystery only known by God the Father. As believers living in a corrupt and immoral world, we take joy in knowing that our Redeemer will return soon for his bride. We will be transported to Heaven to await the day of Judgement. Meanwhile, we must keep alert and ready, being of sober mind as we listen for that “Last Trump” that will call us home.
“We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed.”
1 Corinthians 15:51