How to best prepare for Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important dates on the Jewish calendar. In many ways, it’s considered to be the Jewish New Year. This festival begins on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. This means that it is usually around September or October. The celebration of this holiday is a commemoration of the creation of the world. Naturally, this holiday is one of the most important moments in the year and many preparations need to occur for one to have the best possible Rosh Hashanah.
In contrast to many modern-day celebrations, and especially those surrounding the New Year, Rosh Hashanah is not meant to be a big party. Instead, this celebration is an opportunity for observers to contemplate and deepen their spiritual practice and beliefs. During Rosh Hashanah, all forms of work are prohibited and most people will choose to attend their synagogue. The service during Rosh Hashanah will usually include liturgical texts, songs, congregation readings, and special prayers.
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of Rosh Hashanah is the sound of the shofar, a traditional trumpet made out of a ram’s horn. This sound is symbolic and it is meant to work as a reminder for Jews to repent and accept that God is their king.
The Rosh Hashanah religious service tends to be relatively long, but once it’s over the time for celebrations with one’s family and friends begin. While these celebrations are not as lavish as some of the other traditions that are common in the Jewish practice, they are still an important part of properly celebrating this holiday and its significance.
A key part of this Jewish celebration is the meal. Typically, this will only be accompanied by two candles that will act as ceremonial lights and will help represent the positive wishes for the future. Usually, part of the meal will include Apples and honey. This is often accompanied by a special prayer and it has great significance as Ancient Jews used to believe that Apples had healing properties.
Challah is another key food on the Jewish table. This braided bread can be baked and kept in a Challah cover until it’s time to eat it. Much like the apples have significant meaning, so does the bread. This round challah has a dual meaning, on the one hand, it showcases the cyclical nature of life and on the other hand, it is meant to symbolize God’s crown.
This tradition usually includes throwing pieces of bread in a body of water while reciting prayers. This is meant to help cast off sins and it is a tradition that dates back to the thirteenth century. The passage that is usually read as part of this tradition is from prophet Micah (7:19) and it reads ‘He will take us back in love; He will cover up our iniquities. You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
Nothing can get you in a good mood and soothe your soul like music. Whether you choose to have some of your favorite music play in the background or turn the radio on you will be able to find some classical tunes that can help calm your soul and bring you a feeling of peace during this very spiritual time
Sit in quiet and contemplate
Above all times this is a time for deep thought and contemplation. This is a great time to better your relationship with God through prayer. You can also spend some time on Rosh Hashanah for self-care, this is a perfect opportunity to better your relationship with yourself and to spend some time planning for what you would like to do in the future. This planning should also include ideas about how you would like to treat yourself better in the future.
Spend time with friends and family
As with every Jewish celebration, your family and your community can be central to the celebration. This is a good time to seek closure and repent for any past wrongdoings and to ask for repentance.
Celebrating Rosh Hashanah is not just about having a loud celebration rather it’s about taking the time to contemplate and reach deeper within yourself and foster your relationship with God further. Between the time spent praying in the synagogue and the feast that always accompanies this celebration, there will be many opportunities for you to relax and enjoy the start of the new year.