Rosh Hashana, which means “Head of the Year”, begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 24th. God prescribes its observance in Leviticus 23:24–25: “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”
Jewish tradition links this first day of the Hebrew civic calendar with the commemoration of God’s creation of the world. The solemn assembly and trumpet blasts associated with this day point to this ten-day period of self-reflection, repentance, and renewal that begins in earnest on Rosh Hashanah and culminates on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Leviticus 16 describes the one day during the year in which the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the entire nation.
The traditional greeting at Rosh Hashanah is “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’tihatem” (“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year”), or simply, “L’shanah tovah.” This blessing points to the belief that each person must use these Days of Awe to repent and do everything possible to make things right with God and others so their name will be sealed in God’s Book of Life on Yom Kippur. We who know Jesus as Messiah are grateful that he has been both high priest and perfect sacrifice for us (Hebrews 4:14–5:9), and we come to these Days of Awe with deep gratitude for all he has done for us. [Read more]