Rosh ha Shana 2016

“You will again have compassion on us;you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micha 7:19)

Sept 30, our class with Sr. Anne-Catharine was about the Jewish Feast, Rosh ha Shana as the Jewish people celebrate this feast this year on the 3rd of September. We started our class by reading Leviticus 23 identifying the five main Jewish biblical Festivals where all of them are related. Rosh ha Shana is not mentioned particularly by name on the text because in the time of the bible, it was only special first day of the seventh month. It developed during the time of the Second Temple. Then it was mention in Misnah as the head of the year. We saw very clearly the difference between the three pilgrim festivals with both agricultural and historical aspect (at least for Pesach and Sukkot), while Rosh ha Shana and Yom Kippur have quite a different character.

Then we studied the main prayer of the day quoting the scriptures three time in each themes (three verses from Torah, Writings and Prophets). First theme is Malchiot, Israel who proclaims God as supreme King of the universe the master of history or creation. Second is Zichronoth (Gen 21:1 and 1 sam 1:19). God remembering us always for giving life. Third is the Shofaroth (Sounding of the Shofar).

According to the Jewish tradition, the world has been conceived at Rosh ha Shana. Meaning, the world is always in the process of growing. Remembering God’s mercy, not only with justice but also with mercy. Mercy is bigger than justice. That is why in between Rosh ha Shana and Yom Kippur, the prayer is always recited from Exodus 34: 6-7 because God does not want to continue the punishment but mercy. After Rosh ha Shana, the ten days before the Yom Kippur, are called the ten days of Teshuva (conversion of the heart). The shape of the shofar (opening from the small and out from the big whole) symbolizing that we pass from narrowness to space of freedom. And also that God listens to our sin with one ear and let them go out from other ear. It is the memory of forgiveness.

To have a closer look, Monday on October 3rd in the morning, we went to the synagogue to listen to the shofar and late in the afternoon at 6 pm (God willing) we will go to the fountain of Ein-Kerem for the rite of the “tashlikh” where the Jews pray with Micah 7:19, to throw the sins in living water.

Maria O. Malau, Novice NDS
October 3, 2016