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September 06, 2002 - Image 169

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

past year and decides the person's
fate.
Rosh Hashanah also is referred to
as the Day of Remembrance, or Yom
HaZikaron, when God remembers
the world, and we remember our
relationship with Him, the Torah
and the land of Israel. We also -
reflect on our lives during the past
year, remembering the right and the
wrong of our thoughts and actions.
Rosh Hashanah further is regarded
as the day we publicly acknowledge
the sovereignty of God.

• Customs And Traditions: Like
almost all Jewish holidays, Rosh
Hashanah is celebrated with festive
meals. More so than any other
Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah is
replete with symbolic foods, of
which the best known is honey. We
dip slices of apple in honey and
recite a prayer expressing our hopes
for a sweet year to come. Many also
dip their bread in honey (instead of
the usual salt) for the motzi, the
prayer that begins the meal.
Other symbolic foods include the
head of a fish or the head of a sheep
(a play on the "rosh" part of Rosh
Hashanah), carrots (based on a

Hashanah and Yom Kippur,
and then on the holidays
themselves. It was considered a
kind of wake-up call, and it is
still regarded as such.
On the first day of Elul,
Moses had climbed, for the
second time, to the top of
Mount Sinai. There, he blew a
shofarto remind the Jews
below that they must never
again create another golden
calf.
To remind ourselves that we
must take time to reflect on
our lives and our actions, and
in an effort to consider ways in
which we will not sin again in
the future, we hear the shofar
blown throughout the month
of Elul.
Harkening back to earlier
days, in the modern State of
Israel it is customary to blow
the shofar during times of vic-
tory in war, such as when
Israel regained Jerusalem dur-
ing the 1967 Six-Day War. ❑

Yiddish pun on the word for
"increase") or pomegranates (which
have many seeds, symbolic of many
children or many good deeds).

• Rites And Rituals: Rosh Hashanah
includes extra prayers and a Torah
reading. What is unique about Rosh
Hashanah is the practice of blowing
the shofar, the horn of a kosher ani-
mal, usually a ram.
The shofar is sounded during the
musafservice; that is, the liturgy
that follows the Torah reading.
(Note that the service on Rosh
Hashanah morning — like every
Shabbat and major Jewish holiday
— is divided into preliminary
prayers (p'sukei d'zimra), morning
prayers (shacharit), Torah reading
(kriat Torah), plus haftorah, addi-
tional service (musaf) and closing
prayers.)
The shofar is blown immediately
before the congregation recites the
silent Amidah prayer. In most syna-
gogues, everyone recites Psalm 47
seven times.
The person blowing the shofar
and the congregation then respon-
sively recite seven verses drawn from
Psalms and Lamentations. The shofar
bloWer next recites two blessings,
after which he blows three sets of
shofar blasts.
This is followed by the congrega-
tion's responsive reading of three
verses taken from Psalm 89.
In the Ashkenazi rite, the shofar is
again blown during the cantor's rep-
etition of the Musaf Amidah; in the
Sephardi rite, the shofar is blown
during the congregation's silent
Amidah prayer. When the holiday
falls on Shabbat, however, the shofar
is not blown.
For the Torah reading, five persons
are called up. If Rosh Hashanah falls
on Shabbat, seven are called up.
Except on Shabbat, the Avinu
Malkeinu prayer is recited after the
Amidah of the morning and after-
noon services.
Rosh Hashanah, along with Yom
Kippur, is the only day we prostrate
ourselves in prayer — in a modified
form — as was done in the days of
the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The
prostration is done during the
Aleinu portion of the Amidah prayer
(the same Aleinu was later added to
the end of each of the three daily
services, but without prostration).
Practiced almost exclusively by
Orthodox Jews, prostration consists
of kneeling and then touching one's
forehead to the floor. ❑

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