Or Yom Teruah to Biblically precise. Rosh HaShannah just means “head of the year” which is why it is celebrated as the Jewish New Year, but the Biblical holiday is actually Yom Teruah (Day of Blasting). The blasting is referring to the blowing of the shofar, or trumpet of sorts made out of a ram’s horn. Below is a picture of mine.
The festival comes from Leviticus 23:23 which states, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month of the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
What is this blowing supposed to remind us of? Well, that is a matter of debate on some level, but most accept that it is a call to repentance and self-examination in preparation for the “Day of Atonement” which follows a week later.
I liken the holiday to the first few chapters of the Bible. When I blow the shofar, I do so with my breath and it makes a loud blast. It gets the attention of everyone around (to include neighbors), and curiosity is stirred. That breath that I breath is borrowed; it is the breath of God that gives us light.
“And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
The rest of creation was spoken “and God said, ‘Let there be light…”, but we were formed and then breathed into. One thing is obvious, that which comes out of God’s mouth is powerful in creation. We see God’s voice represented as a shofar blast when He descended upon Mt. Sinai before giving the Ten Commandments.
” And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the shofar exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.”
To put this all together, we see Adam in the Garden of Eden after he sinned (eating the fruit). Adam made clothing for himself to hide his shame, but apparently didn’t do so adequately because he hid in fear when he heard the voice of God ask, “Where are you?” Adam responded by saying, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.”
The trumpet sound on the days of Yom Teruah reminds us of God’s voice. It causes us to reflect on the commandments given on Sinai and the ultimate question God asks to the sinful man, “Where are you?”
Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, the question is relevant. Where are you in life, in your relationship with God, and in your relationships with men? For me, it’s a time to reflect on the things I struggle with. This year I feel compelled to confront and repent for my attitude with those whom I disagree with. Too often I sacrifice love for the sake of pride and in the end win nothing.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Filed under: Uncategorized