Feast of Trumpets

What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Feast of Trumpets
Rabbi Aaron Raskin plays the shofar as Jews mark Rosh Hashanah at Brooklyn Bridge. Mario Tama / Getty Images

The Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah - Feast of Trumpets:

Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year is called the Feast of Trumpets in the Bible because it begins the Jewish High Holy Days and Ten Days of Repentance with the blowing of the ram's horn, the shofar, calling God's people together to repent from their sins. During Rosh Hashanah synagogue services, the trumpet traditionally sounds 100 notes. Rosh Hashanah is also the start of the civil year in Israel.

It is a solemn day of soul-searching, forgiveness, repentance and remembering God's judgment, as well as a joyful day of celebration, looking forward to God's goodness and mercy in the New Year.

Time of Observance:

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri (September or October).

• See Bible Feasts Calendar for the actual dates of Rosh Hashanah.

Scripture Reference:

The observance of the Feast of Trumpets is recorded in the Old Testament book of Leviticus 23:23-25 and also in Numbers 29:1-6.

About Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets:

The Feast of Trumpets begins with Rosh Hashanah. The solemnizations continue for Ten Days of Repentance, culminating on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. On this final day of the High Holy Days, Jewish tradition tells how God opens the Book of Life and studies the words, actions, and thoughts of every person whose name he has written there.

If a person's good deeds outweigh or outnumber their sinful acts, his or her name will remain inscribed in the book for another year.

So, Rosh Hashanah and the Ten Days of Repentance provide God's people with a time for reflection, turning away from sin, and doing good deeds, allowing them a more favorable chance of having their names sealed in the Book of Life for another year.

Jesus and Rosh Hashanah:

Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Day of Judgment. At the Final Judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:15, we read that "anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." The book of Revelation also speaks of this Book of Life as belonging to the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:27).

The New Testament reveals in John 5:27 that the Father has given his Son, Jesus, authority to judge everyone, and 2 Timothy 4:1 says that Jesus will judge the living and the dead. Jesus told his followers in John 5:24, "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." Therefore, through our acceptance of his sacrifice and atonement for sin, Jesus has become the fulfillment of this Old Testament feast so closely associated with repentance and judgment.

More Facts About Rosh Hashanah:

  • Jewish New Year is a more solemn occasion than your typical New Year's celebrations.
  • Jews are commanded to hear the sounding of the ram's horn on Rosh Hashanah, unless if falls on the Sabbath, and the shofar is not blown.
  • Orthodox Jews take part in a ceremony known as Tashlich on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. During this "casting off" service they will walk to flowing water and say a prayer from Micah 7:18-20, symbolically casting their sins into the water.
  • A traditional holiday meal of round challah bread and apple slices dipped in honey is served on Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing God's provision and hope for the sweetness of the coming new year.
  • L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, meaning "may you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for a good year," is a typical Jewish New Year's message found in greeting cards, or spoken in a shortened form as Shanah Tovah, meaning "good year."
  • More about Rosh Hashanah.