As today is still the Jewish New Year – what better thing to blog about! So lets learn a little more about Rosh Hashanah.
Here in Israel it is a two-day celebration.
You can find the Biblical connection in Leviticus 23:23-25, and both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.
The main public or iconic event of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the shofar – or ram's horn) during the morning prayers.
Both days are full public holidays and, as on the Sabbath, there will be no public transportation or newspapers. In addition, many businesses, museums and other institutions, which are normally open on the Sabbath, will be closed over the holiday.
Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs.
The first one, which is the most popular, is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be “sweet.”
The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring) where one then reads a selection of scriptural verses.
Afterwards, one throws pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the “casting off” of the previous year's sins.
This practice derives from Micah 7:19; “…and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”.
This verse in Micah is lovely to connect to the new year because from a Christian perspective, we of course see Jesus Christ as the One who has cast off our sins through His death and Resurrection.
And because of that, by faith in Him, we shall live with God through all eternity when our redemption comes – Halleluiah!
Middle East Correspondent