• Light of Torah

10 Life Lessons: Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year

Shana Tova U'Metuka

Festival greetings to Jewish friends for Rosh Hashanah,

and a wish for all the goodness and sweetness of the new year.

As this blog post is being written, Jewish communities have entered the festival of Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah celebrates the 'birthday of the world'. Front and centre is the conviction that God, Creator and Sovereign of the world, continues to renew creation and calls human beings to account for their decisions and actions. Despite the fragility of our lives, we are expected to live the gift of each day to the fullest. Thus, the sound of the shofar (ram's horn) on Rosh Hashanah might be described as a 'wake-up' call. Rosh Hashanah leads into an extended period of introspection and self-examination, known as the Days of Awe or Days of Repentance, which climaxes ten days later with Yom Kippur ('Day of Atonement'), a solemn day of fasting and repentance, girded by a deep trust in God's mercy.

So what are some of the key messages of Rosh Hashanah? What insights from Jewish tradition can also inspire other peoples of faith and good will?

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (1948-2020), an English rabbi, scholar and author - widely respected as a faith leader by people of many traditions - articulated the following Ten Themes.