The Rosh Hashanah Anthology

By Philip Goodman | Go to book overview

XII
ROSH HASHANAH IN MODERN PROSE

THE JEWISH NEW YEAR

JOSEPH H. HERTZ

The New Year festival is far other than the mere opening day, according to the olden Jewish reckoning, of another year in the flight of time. Unlike the New Year celebrations of many ancient and modern nations, the Jewish New Year is not a time of revelry. It is a solemn season of self-examination and self-judgment in the life of the Jew. Scripture prescribes a special symbolic rite for this day, the sounding of the ram's horn, the shofar. Whoever has once heard during the New Year service the shrill notes of this oldest of wind instruments will never forget them. And the meaning of this ceremony to the worshipers who listen to these notes in solemn awe is as stirring as the sounds themselves. Since days immemorial, the sounding of the ram's horn on the New Year has been interpreted in Israel as the clarion call to repentance and spiritual

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