Quotes for Events - Rosh Hashanah

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Quotes for Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year.

And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Sing aloud unto God, our strength; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
R. Judah says: "Man is judged on New Year and his doom is sealed on the Day of Atonement."
All good things come to Israel through the Shofar. They received the Torah with the sound of the Shofar. They conquered in battle through the blast of the Shofar. They are summoned to repent by the Shofar, and they will be made aware of the Redeemer's advent through the Great Shofar.
On New Year Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were remembered on high [and they conceived]; on New Year Joseph went forth from prison; on New Year the bondage of our ancestors in Egypt ceased.
Rabbi Johanan said: "The fate of men of perfection is sealed on Rosh ha-Shanah; they are either to be aided in accumulating more Mitzwot; or they are to enjoy Paradise. "The fate of men of complete wickedness is also sealed on Rosh ha-Shanah; they are either to receive opportunity to add to their wickedness, or they are to depart for Purgatory. The fate of the rank and file of men is left open, however, until Yom Kippur. If they repent they receive another chance to do good."
It has been said that omens are of significance; therefore, a man should make a regular habit of eating, at the beginning of the year, pumpkin, fenugreek, leek, beet, and dates [as these grow in profusion and are symbolic of prosperity].
Three books are opened [in heaven] on New Year, one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for the intermediate. The thoroughly righteous are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of life; the thoroughly wicked are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of death; the doom of the intermediate is suspended from New Year till the Day of Atonement; if they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death.
"May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year" or "May your name be inscribed in the book of life."
Some of the townspeople stood on the wooden bridge reciting the Tashlikh ; others lined the river's banks. Young women took out their handkerchiefs [sic] and shook out their sins. Boys playfully emptied their pockets to be sure that no transgression remained. The village wits made the traditional Tashlikh jokes. "Girls, shake as hard as you want, but a few sins will remain." "The fish will get fat feeding on so many errors."
The blowing of the shofar, the ram's horn, is an alarm, as it was for the tribes of Israel in the desert when the enemy approached, and for the armies of David and Solomon in the Holy Land; an alarm waking the soul to Judgment. The enigmatic words, "a day of remembrance," with which the Torah describes the first of Tishri, become clear; God reviews the deeds of the year, and men recall with dread that all acts come at last to an accounting.
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the last day of that accursed year, the whole camp [Buna] was electric with the tension which was in all our hearts. In spite of everything, this day was different from any other. The last day of the year. The word "last" rang very strangely. What if it were indeed the last day? . . . Once, New Year's Day had dominated my life. I knew that my sins grieved the Eternal; I implored his forgiveness. Once, I had believed profoundly that upon one solitary deed of mine, one solitary prayer, depended the salvation of the world. This day I had ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone--terribly alone in a world without God and without man.
Every Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, Jews say a prayer that I have been saying to myself more and more as I grow older. . . ."Blessed art thou O Lord our God, King of the universe," the prayer begins, "who has given us life and kept us safe and allowed us to reach this season." It is the right prayer for a new century, a blessing for a new "season."
The High Holy Days of my childhood . . . embodied the very essence of new beginnings; for autumn, not spring, was when everything was new: my clothes, my classroom, books, pencil box, teachers--and Jewish chronology, which decreed a fresh start, a clean slate, a chance to improve on the past.
These year's-end holidays have in them the quality of transition that we find in other festivals of the new year, no matter when they are celebrated. Yom Kippur marks the end of the solemn days and the beginning of the regular days of the new year. The Ten Days, during which the gates of heaven are open, are a time out of time, a period of liminality during which people can shape their destinies, retract vows and right wrongs. In short one can make oneself over for the new year, in a way that recalls, however dimly, the custom of New Year's resolutions.
The Jewish New Year, . . . like all New Year celebrations, projects and tries to satisfy the human need for periodic regeneration. That's why the New Year is followed by a day of atonement, Yom Kippur, a day on which we purify ourselves of sin, cast out the accumulated imperfections of the past so as morally to make ourselves as new, as pure, as the coming year itself.

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