Jewish Holidays

Requests on Shabbat and Rosh Hashana

September 6, 2006, by

The Yerushalmi Talmud rules that one is prohibited from making personal requests from God on Shabbat…but it should be permitted for us to make requests from God at the end of the Shemona Esrai of Rosh Hashana…

The Shofar of Elul and the Days of Awe

June 29, 2006, by

We did not blow the Shofar on the last day of Elul, the morning before Rosh HaShanah, in order to “confuse the Satan.” Perhaps this means that the Satan would think that “they’re finished blowing, and have nothing left for the Day of Judgment.” But we say “Ashrei HaAm Yod’ei Teruah!” “Fortunate is the People […]

Eating Symbolic Foods

June 28, 2006, by

The Gemora in the tractate of Kerisus (6a) states “Abaye said ‘Now that you have said that an omen is significant, at the beginning of each year, each person should accustom himself to eat gourds, fenugreek, leeks, beets and dates…’.” Because of this Gemora, it is a custom to eat these listed foods, as well […]

The Shofar: A Wake-Up Call

June 28, 2006, by

We find that when the Torah speaks of Rosh HaShana, it tells us “Yom Teru’ah yih’yeh lachem”, “a day of teru’ah (sounding the horn) should be to you”. Although the verses do not elaborate on what type of horn or instrument is being sounded, our sages have taught us that it refers to the Shofar, […]

Judgement: The Epitome of G-d’s Kindness

June 28, 2006, by

The meaning of the words Rosh HaShana literally is “Head (beginning) of the year.” However, this holiday carries much more significance than merely being the day on which a new calendar becomes necessary. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that Rosh HaShana is the day on which the whole world is judged. Each individual creature is judged […]

Yom Tru’ah & Zichron Tru’ah: Rosh HaShanah in the Chumash

June 28, 2006, by

To our surprise, Chumash appears to have left out the two primary aspects of the holiday which we call Rosh Hashana: * that it marks the beginning of the NEW YEAR, and * that it is a Day of Judgement. This week’s shiur attempts to uncover them. INTRODUCTION Chumash contains only two brief and ambiguous […]

The Structure of Tekiyot

June 28, 2006, by

The Ramban in his “Drasha le-Rosh Hashanah” recounts a certain episode which occurred during the life of his rebbe, Rav Natan (of Trinquetaille, the 13th century Talmudist). Evidently, when the latter traveled to study with the Ritzba, the following incident took place: the ba’al tokea on Rosh Hashanah, instead of blowing three blasts for shevarim, blew […]

Day of Joy – Day of Judgment

June 28, 2006, by

Rosh Hashana appears twice in the Torah: first in Vayikra 23:24 – “…In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a remembrance of blowing of horns [“zikhron teru’ah”], a holy gathering…”, and later in Bamidbar 29:1 – “…It is a day of blowing the horn [“yom teru’ah”] […]

Insights into Rosh Hashanah: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

June 28, 2006, by

“Let us now relate the power of the day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who […]

The Torah Reading for the First Day of Rosh HaShanah

June 28, 2006, by

The Torah reading and Haftarah of the first day of Rosh HaShanah raise a big question. That is, how are the overall themes of these texts essential to Rosh Hashanah? While it is true that both stories speak of barren women whose prayers were answered in the affirmative (and we, too, seek such response to our […]