Friday, 14 September 2012

The Feast of Rosh HaShanah

The Feast of Rosh HaShanah begins on Sunday evening at sunset:

The LORD gave instructions to Moses in  Leviticus 23.24  to speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath rest , a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.
 A ‘memorial’, zikrown in Hebrew, means:
1. a ‘remembering’ of events of the past and/or
2. to take action which ‘remembers’ the past event.

Rosh HaShanah is the day we remember:
1.      The Beginning, Creation, when all the sons of God shouted for joy
                                                                                                 Job 38.7

2.      When Messiah remembered us and came in the likeness of men and
                                                                              Philippians 2.7

3.      This same Jesus, who was taken up into heaven, and will come in like
       manner and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem…..on Rosh HaShanah
       Acts 1.11 and Zechariah 8.3

The word ‘shanah’ (year) also means ‘repeat’, and ‘change’.

As the years  go round and round, repeating the seasons, the LORD gives us a choice:

Do we want this new shanah (year) to be a repetition, or….
Do we want to make a change (shana)?

The round shape of the Rosh HaShanah challah reminds us that this is the time to make decisions over the next 10 Days of Awe before Yom Kippur. 

Perhaps the following questions might help to determine whether a change (shana) is possible or necessary for us this new year (shanah):

1.      When do I most feel that my life is meaningful?
2.      How often do I express my feelings to those who mean the most to me?
3.      If I could live my life over again, would I change anything?
4.      What would bring me more happiness than anything else in the world?
5.      What are the three biggest mistakes I've made since last Rosh
6.      What are my 3 major goals in life?
7.      If I could give my children only 3 pieces of advice, what would they be?
8.      What are the most important relationships in my life?
9.      Over the last year did those relationships become closer and deeper, or
      was there a sense of stagnation and drifting?
10.  What can I do to nurture those relationships this year?
11.  If I could change only one thing about myself, what would that be?
12. If I could change one thing about my spiritual life, what would it be?

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), how important are the following to you?
You cannot have more than three 5’s or three 4’s, and
You must have at least two 3’s, two 2’s and two 1’s.

1.      Family
2.      Being well educated
3.      Making a contribution to my community
4.      Marriage
5.      Spirituality
6.      Being well liked
7.      Having a good reputation
8.      Financial success
9.      Peer recognition in my career or profession
10.  Personal fulfillment
11.  Helping other people
12.  Achieving peace of mind
13.  Having children
14.  Living in the home of my dreams
15.  Acquiring self-knowledge

L'shanah tovah tikatevu means ‘May you be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year.’  
This traditional Rosh HaShanah greeting is often shorted to ‘Shanah tovah’ (Good year). 
The standby greeting of ‘Happy Holiday’ is also appropriate, in Hebrew ‘Chag Samayach’ or in Yiddish ‘Gut Yuntiff’.

Enjoy a round challah and eat it with apples dipped in honey.

Have a sweet new year!  Shanah tovah!!

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