I know we are a ways off from December 31st, but at sundown tonight on the Jewish calendar we enter the year 5775. I took this from my Jews For Jesus NYC branch post to familiarize yourself with the Jewish New Year.
A Different Kind of New Year | Understanding Rosh Hashanah
When you wish someone a happy new year in September, the reaction received is usually: 1) a confused look, 2) a vague smile, or 3) a “Shanah tovah!”
For those in the first two categories, here’s a brief run-down on the Jewish New Year:
Jewish tradition states that the Jewish New Year, called Rosh Hashanah, is the day God opens the Book of Life in order to judge each individual. Beginning on Rosh Hashanah and for the following ten days until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, God writes the names of those He deems righteous in the Book of Life. Naturally, the time leading up to the Jewish New Year and the consecutive ten days (known as the Days of Awe) are a time of self-reflection, repentance, and penitence.
Biblically, Rosh Hashanah is called Yom Teruah, or the Feast of Trumpets. Leviticus 23:23-25 specifies that the first day of the seventh month is to be “a day of complete rest”—a Sabbath. It is to be “a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts,” with a burnt offering made unto the Lord. Numbers 29:1-6 elaborates, explaining, “You shall observe it as a day when the shofar or horn is sounded” and gives specific instructions for the sacrifice.
God commanded the Jewish people to sound the shofar, or trumpet, as a type of alarm. The tradition was established in order to awaken the people of Israel and call them to repentance—turning from their own wayward walk to God’s perfect path. Jewish people still sound the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to this day. The tradition may be old, but the warning remains: repent.
On Rosh Hashanah we wish one another “l’shana tovah, tiketeivu”—or “May you have a good new year, and may your name be inscribed in the Book of Life.” But as believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), we praise God that our names are already sealed in the Book of Life. Yeshua has already provided the atonement for our sins, inscribing our fates, not only for the coming year, but for all eternity. And that makes for a very, very sweet New Year.
Would you like to learn more about how Jesus provided a way for you to be written in the book of life? If so, email me and I would be thrilled to share it with you.
Happy New Year 5775. May this be the year that our Lord returns.
Shalom, until tomorrow, Lord willing,