Yesterday on the Harvest Show Chuck and I spoke about all the holidays happening here in Jerusalem. We got in depth about Eid al Fitr, so now on the blog why don't we dive into Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year!
Today is the start of the two-day Jewish new year holiday, the observance of which is mandated by Leviticus 23:23-25.
It started at sunset last night, because traditionally here days begin in the preceding evening, and conclude at nightfall on Friday. That then will start Shabbat – so we got a three day weekend on hand!
Now in traditional religious families both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.
And as can hear from my home, the symbolic activity of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar. The shofar is the rams horn used as a trumpet. Indeed the centerpiece of the Rosh Hashanah services in the mornings (and morning prayers) is the blowing of the shofar.
Because both these days are full public holidays, a lot of folks leave their homes for family or hit the beach (more below). Businesses, museums and other institutions, are all basically closed over this holiday.
Rosh Hashanah is characterized by two special customs. The first 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), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water. This symbolizes the 'casting off' of the previous year's sins.
That practice comes from those beautiful words found in Micah 7:19; “You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
This of course makes me say a prayer of gratitude to my Savior – who makes this possible – as it was Jesus Christ who carried away my sin – forever on His cross!
Thanks for checking in… We'll see you on tomorrows Harvest Show with another live update from here in the Holy Land!
Middle East Correspondent