Thursday, October 2, 2008

Welcome to a new year

Apples and honey suggest a sweet year, while the ram's horn warns of the Day of Judgment

The last few days have involved quite a bit of religious activity and the question of "to blog or not to blog" has been preying on my mind. In the end I deemed it a good idea to let the spirit of 5769 overtake me as I pondered a new year and all that it may bring. The Jewish New Year (or Rosh Hashanah) is different each year on the Gregorian calendar, but it's the same day every year on the Hebrew calendar, 1 Tishri. It may surprise some non-Jews to learn that Tishri is not the first month in the Hebrew calendar, but is the seventh. Rosh Hashanah was designated a special day of observance in the Bible called Yom Teruah ("the day of the blowing of the horn"). Because of certain rules that must be observed, Rosh Hashanah can never fall on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. Very few Jews know that. Also, relative to the Gregorian calendar, the earliest it can take place is September 5 and the latest it can occur is October 5. Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Ten Days of Penitence or, as some refer to them, "The Days of Awe." Jews are admonished to take stock of themselves during this period because the tenth day, Yom Kippur, is literally the Day of Judgment. Certain activities, such as sexual relations, are restricted during this time in the religious observant community as all Jews are asked to turn inward and resist temptations. In my case there have been few temptations lately, so I guess I am being pious in my religious practice. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Can I get an amen?

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