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What Is Rosh Hashanah?  

Judaism challenges us each and every year.

While I want to dance and be happy on Rosh Hashanah because the new year has arrived, the Torah calls Rosh Hashanah "Yom Teruah" (Day of Fanfare) or "Zichron Teruah" (Memory of Fanfare), because the holiday is mainly centered on the commandment of "teruah" (fanfare) which is mentioned in Leviticus and in Numbers.


Another challenge is that of faith. Rosh Hashanah is the day on which Adam, the first man, was created. I discovered that the name "New Year" comes from rabbinic literature. According to Talmudic tradition, Rosh Hashanah is the date on which Adam was created, and therefore this is the first day on which G-d ruled over mankind.

From my point of view, the seriousness accompanying the holiday creates a different meaning for the term "holiday".


Rosh Hashanah is in fact a day on which we thank G-d for creation – for creating the wonderful world in which we live, and for the creation of man who is G-d's handiwork. And how do I know that man is God's handiwork?

Recently, in a conversation with friends, one person said, "How can you believe this nonsense? What proof do you have that G-d created man?" Here is what I answered my friend:

Religious belief is not subject to negotiation. Belief in G-d is present in all human beings and it appears in some form or another in all cultures. It therefore follows that man is born a believer, and it actually takes a special effort to eradicate a person’s natural faith. G-d, as the creator of man, made his mark on him, as each creature does with its offspring. We are marked by faith in G-d in all His forms and all His names, because G-d created us. Therefore, every human being has a divine spark, and every person is the whole world that G-d created. As we get farther and farther from the creation of Adam, we ask ourselves how far we have strayed from G-d’s original intention when he created us.


Hence the New Year is intended for all creatures of the world, in every situation possible, whether a person is righteous or wicked, free or enslaved. The holiday’s seriousness reflects the tension between our thankfulness to He who created us, and our current identity as we are today in the year 5775.


On Rosh Hashanah, my wish for myself and my colleagues is that we will see something of the divine spark within ourselves, which embodies G-d's blessing to us, his creations. For those who do not believe that God created them, and for those who believe they were created in the image of G-d – both groups have a right, as the children of G-d, to grace and mercy. Here is my blessing for my readers, my friends in Israel and around the world:

"May peace be to you, and peace to your household, and peace to all that is yours" (I Samuel, chapter 25, verse 6)



Happy New Year,
Ayala Lilli Moses

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