Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah
Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah (The Festival of Shofars/Day of Shouting) 1st of Tishrei
This is the beginning of the High Holy Days, the holiest time of the year, celebrated with blasts of the shofar (a trumpet made from a ram’s horn). The shofar was used to call the people to solemn assembly, announce the arrival of a king, as a warning of imminent danger, or other events of importance.
Yom Teruah basically means a day of noise/blasts. Yom Teruah is known as the Feast of Trumpets in Christianity and is better known as Rosh HaShanah (the new year) in modern Judaism. But Yom Teruah isn’t really the “Jewish New Year”. In fact, it falls on the first day of Etanim (also known traditionally as Tishri), which is the seventh month in God’s calendar. The real “new year” is in Aviv (also known traditionally as Nisan) when Pesach (Passover) occurs.
Yom Teruah begins a ten-day period leading up to the holiest day of God’s calendar, Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. These ten days are known as the Yomim Noraim or Days of Awe in modern Judaism. In fact, modern Judaism also includes the preceding month of Elul also as a time to prepare for the upcoming Fall moedim (appointed times). The sounding of the shofar on Yom Teruah is a wake-up blast – a reminder that the time is near for the Day of Atonement. It is a time to teshuvah (repent, turn back to God). Traditionally, these ten days are ones of heart searching and self-examination – the shofar warns us that we need to examine our lives and make amends with all those we have wronged during the year, and to ask forgiveness for any vows we may have broken. So, a main theme of the High Holy Days is repentance.