“And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you will have a holy gathering,
all servile work you shall not do, it is a day of blowing the shofar to you.”
The Head of the Year
The first day of Tishre is the first day of Creation’s completion, and therefore this day has been determined as Rosh Hashanah. In the same way as a person’s head activates his whole body, so Rosh Hashanah determines everything that will happen during the year. The first day of Tishre is not just the first day of the year according to the years of the Jewish calendar, but also its “Head.” Why has the first day of Tishre been ruled as the first of the year, while the counting of the months starts in Nisan, the month that the Torah calls the first month?
Mitzvot of Rosh Hashanah
The central mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah is blowing the shofar,“it is a day of blowing the shofar to you.” The blowing of the shofar marks that on this day we crown the Holy-One-Blessed-Be-He as King over all the earth. Among the verses said in the Rosh Hashanah prayers that talk about blowing the shofar, we find “For G-d is supreme and awesome, a great King over all the earth… the L-rd arose with blowing, G-d, with the sound of shofar.”
What do we do on Rosh Hashanah?
We give more thought to repentance and give more charity – on the eve of Rosh Hashanah we say more Selihot (prayers of repentance), and get up very early and go to synagogue in order to do so. Similarly, we give more charity on this day.
A shofar is the horn of a kosher animal with its marrow removed. When you blow a shofar, the sound you hear is a shofar blast. When you blow the right sequence at the right time, you have a big mitzvah.
Eruv Tavshilin – Rosh Hashanah Evening Meal
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we place a “new fruit,” a seasonal fruit which we have not tasted since the beginning of the season, on the table when the holiday candles are lit and during kiddush. When we say the Shehecheyanu blessing after candle-lighting and after the kiddush, we should have the new fruit in mind.