Rosh Hashanah 101
The challah (traditional bread) that is eaten for the Rosh Hashanah season is round, symbolizing the eternal cycle of life. The challah is traditionally dipped in honey, symbolizing the hopes for a sweet New Year. The same is done with apples, which are made even sweeter with the addition of honey. Some people avoid eating nuts at this time, since according to a somewhat convoluted Gematria (mystical numerical interpretation) the Hebrew words for nut (egoz) and sin (het) have the same numerical value. You can buy Rosh Hashanah gifts such as challah boards and shofars in our online store.
Three unique sets of prayers are added to the morning service during Rosh Hashanah. These are known as Malkhuyot, which address the sovereignty of God, Zikhronot, which present God as the one who remembers past deeds, and Shofarot, in which we stand in nervous anticipation of the future.
Each of these sections culminates in the blasts of the Shofar, the most potent symbol of the holiday. The shofar is alluded to in the most memorable Torah reading for the holiday, the Akedah or Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22). The story and the shofar serve as reminders of the covenant between God and the people of Israel, carrying with them the message of sacrifice, hope, and continuity. Among the popular traditions associated with the holiday is a ceremony performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah called tashlikh, when people throw crumbs or pieces of bread, symbolizing their sins, upon flowing water.
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