Rosh ha-Shanah


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Rosh ha-Shanah

(rŏsh hə-shä`nə) [Heb.,=head of the year], the Jewish New Year, also known as the Feast of the Trumpets. It is observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, occurring usually in September. Rosh ha-Shanah is held in great reverence as the Day of Judgment (Yom ha-Din), the beginning of the 10-day period concluding with Yom Kippur and known as the "Days of Awe," during which, according to tradition, all the people of the earth pass before the Lord and are marked in the "Book of Life" or in the "Book of Death." A distinguishing feature of the New Year is the blowing of the shofar (a ram's horn), which summons Jews to penitential observance. Orthodox and Conservative Jews celebrate Rosh ha-Shanah for two days; most Reform congregations celebrate the first day.

Bibliography

See L. Jacobs, A Guide to Rosh ha-Shanah (1969).

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This festival is known by four names: Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Teru'ah (Day of Blowing the Horn), Yom ha-Din (Day of Judgment), and Yom ha-Zikkaron (Day of Remembrance).
The veritable fountain of images of God invoked during Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur--God as biographer recording our lives, God as merciful mother (the phrase Ayl molei rahamim literally means "God full of wombs"), God as glassblower, God as soft-on-crime judge--testifies to centuries of discomfort with this face-to-face meeting with the One we cannot face.
Other Temple rituals were also transferred to the synagogue and sometimes reshaped, e.g., sounding the shofar on Rosh Ha-Shanah (now no longer done on the Sabbath) and performing the Sukkot processions around the reading desk while carrying the Four Species.
Yehudah ha-Nasi would interpret Hebrew terms to rabbis who had forgotten their meaning (TB Rosh Ha-Shanah 26b).
"I did it on Rosh ha-Shanah for eighty-two years, since I was three or five or seven.
TB Rosh Ha-Shanah 11b records a dispute about what this date represents.
They are certain that their saintly rabbi has gone up to heaven to plead directly before the throne of the Almighty with the onset of the Rosh ha-Shanah period of penitence for the lives and well-being of his congregation and of persecuted Jews everywhere, which at that time probably meant all Jews in Eastern Europe, if not the world over.
The earliest Jewish interpretation of this verse is found in [begin strikethrough]BT[end strikethrough] TB Rosh Ha-Shanah 8b, where keseh is understood to mean "covered", from the root k-s-h.
(4.) The Talmud (Rosh Ha-Shanah 11b-12a) also records the opinion that for the counting of months in the story of the Deluge we begin with Tishri.
The Talmud (Rosh Ha-Shanah 26a-b) also relates to the shofar solely as a ritual object, since by that time the shofar had no other function.
The term Rosh Ha-Shanah, which came to be used for the beginning of a new year, is found only once in all of Scripture (Ezekiel 40:1), but nothing is stated as to when it occurred, nor are there any festivities associated with it.
Rosh Ha-Shanah 21b) presents a subtle criticism of Solomon.