13 October 2017

Rosh Ha-Shanah and Sukkot, the holidays of the Jewish New Year

With the 'Simchat Torah' holiday, which literally means 'Rejoicing of Torah', the celebration cycle of the Jewish New Year concluded in Israel.

Archaeology, Culture, and other Religions

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In Israel, on Thursday October 12 (one day ahead of the rest of the world), the celebration cycle of the Jewish New Year concluded, with the 'Simchat Torah' holiday, which literally means 'Rejoicing of Torah'.

At sundown, on the evening before September 20, first day of the month of Tishrei, according to the Jewish calendar, Jews throughout the world began celebrating the Jewish New Year (or Rosh Ha-Shanah), the beginning of the year 5778. According to tradition, counting starts from the creation of the world, because on this day God created Adam, the first man.

Rabbi RON KRONISH
Rabbi, writer
“Rosh Ha-Shanah, New Year's Day, consists of two days of prayer, reflection and examination of the goals and sins of every person in our community and of the people during the past year."

After the celebration of Rosh Ha-Shanah, ten days of repentance, called 'Slikhots', begin, to later culminate in Yom kippur, which literally means 'Day of Atonement', the most sacred, solemn and respected holiday of the Jewish calendar: 25 hours of fasting, special prayers and penance.

The sound of the horn has announced the end of Yom Kippur and the beginning of the Sukkot festivities. "For seven days you must live in huts”, says God to his people in the Torah. So for a week the city has been filled with temporary booths to remember the 40 years Jews stayed in the desert after their release from slavery in Egypt.

On the city streets, it was not unusual to meet families or singles holding the 'lulâv', a bundle of plants composed of a palm branch, two willow branches, three myrtle twigs and a citron branch. At the end of the period of repentance, on the last day of Sukkot, the so-called 'Hoshanà Rabbah', which literally translates: “Oh, save us!”, the lulâv is shaken and beaten on the ground to awaken the creation and invite the Messiah to come soon.