In Northbrook, Illinois, Rabbi Meir Moscowitz from Lubavitch Chabad recently showcased a remarkable ancient musical instrument known as the shofar. This unique instrument is crafted from a ram’s horn and holds deep significance in Jewish traditions.
The shofar plays a vital role in synagogue services during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and also at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, which falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah this year. It stands as a central symbol of this important Jewish holiday, which coincidentally starts on the Jewish Sabbath this year.
Rabbi Moscowitz explains that when the shofar is blown, it serves as a call to God, a way of expressing the Jewish desire for a fresh start in the new year and a rekindling of their relationship with the Divine.
Rosh Hashanah signifies the start of a month filled with significant Jewish holy days. On Friday evening, many Jewish individuals observe Rosh Hashanah in their synagogues and partake in the tradition of consuming sweets, symbolizing the hope for a sweet year ahead. In the days leading up to the holiday, congregants often come together to prepare packages for distribution on Friday.
Rabbi Moscowitz emphasizes that Rosh Hashanah carries immense importance, as it sets the tone for the entire year to come. It’s a time for introspection, reflection, and a reconnection with God.
For Jewish people, Rosh Hashanah marks the celebration of the birth of humanity and serves as an occasion to seek forgiveness for any transgressions committed in the past year. Traditionally, it falls in either September or October according to the Jewish calendar. This year, it coincides with the start of the Jewish Sabbath, and lighting candles symbolizing light and peace within the home is also a cherished tradition.
As Rabbi Moscowitz eloquently puts it, Rosh Hashanah reminds Jewish individuals of their purpose in this world in relation to their Creator. A central theme of this holiday is prayer, and they utilize a substantial 320-page prayer book specifically for the two days commencing at sundown on Friday night.