14 votes
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What is the reason behind blowing the shofar from the side of one's mouth?

This is in the Ramo (O.C. 585:2) to blow specifically on the right side of the mouth. The Magain Avraham says this is based on the verse (Zecharia 3:1) והשטן עומד על ימינו - the Satan stands on his ...
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11 votes
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Can the full set of 100 shofar blasts be performed by more than 1 person?

The Talmud (RH 34) records: שמע תשע תקיעות בתשע שעות ביום יצא מט' בני אדם כאחד [לא יצא] תקיעה מזה ותרועה מזה יצא If he heard 9 blasts at 9 hours of the day, he fulfilled his obligation. [If he ...
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11 votes
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When was the last time the "Leap Year" postponement rule was used to delay the date of Rosh Hashannah?

It has been used 11 times so far since the enactment of the fixed calendar in 4119. It was used in 4179, 4257, 4504, 4602, 4849, 5096, 5194, 5441, 5519, 5688, and 5766. The next time it will be used ...
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11 votes
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Why don't we say Hallel on Rosh Hashanah?

I once wondered about this and found an answer at Ohr Somayach. They say that Hallel is said with joy and that our focus on judgement precludes this. They cite Rosh Hashanah 32b: אמרו מלאכי השרת ...
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10 votes

Taschlich Bread crumbs on Yom Tov

There seems to be no known source for feeding the fish at Tashlich. As already noted, those who mention it then to be opposed to it. But the fact is that it is mentioned - and its origins seem to be ...
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9 votes

How do you prepare a ram's head for Rosh Hashana night

From my experience as a kosher Chef. This is quite an endeavour but not impossible. One lambs head will not provide much meat but enough for all to taste. Here is one with usage of Moroccan spices/ ...
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9 votes
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How is Rosh Hashanah a remembrance of leaving Mitzraim?

The Shibbolei HaLeket (286) quotes his brother R. Binyamin as asking this question about Rosh HaShana and Yom HaKippurim. He quotes his brother's answer that the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 11a) states that ...
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8 votes

What should a person think when hearing the shofar?

As for Rosh Hashana, Rav Saadiah lists 10 reasons for blowing shofar. They are: Coronations of kings are announced by trumpet blasts. The shofar is the coronation blast of Hashem's rulership. (So ...
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8 votes

Kohenim Taking shoes off during rosh hashana

This was birkat kohanim, the priestly blessing, which (in the diaspora, at least for Ashkenazim) is done only on the high holy days and festivals. In Israel it is done at each morning service (where ...
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8 votes
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Why was there a huge concern to assure that Hoshanna Rabbah is not on Shabbat?

This priority is given in the Yerushalmi Sukkah 4:1: ר' סימון מפקד לאילין דמחשבין יהבון דעתכון דלא תעבדין לא תקיעתה בשבת ולא ערבתא בשבתא ואין אדחקון עבדון תקיעתה ולא תעבדון ערבתא R' Simon ordered ...
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8 votes
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Rosh Hashanah as a Day of Friendliness

This is stated by the B'nei Yissakhar (Maamarei Hodesh Tishrei Maamar 3 - Yom Teruah Derush 3): וכן יש לפרש יום תרועה, לשון ריעות וחיבור, התחלת מעשה לקרב ולהגיש החיבור פנים בפנים, הוא יהיה לכם, הכל ...
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8 votes
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(Why) is there a custom to have round challah for Rosh HaShanah?

Taame Haminhagim ("Likutim" (in the back), 183), in my own free translation: The reason for the custom that we make Passover matzas round is according to what Rabbi Saadia and Maimonides wrote, ...
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8 votes

Where in the rabbinic writings are there examples of the word "Elul" that mean or imply "harvest" and/or "search"?

For the first one: there's an Aramaic term עללתא, meaning "crop" or "harvest" (see Talmud, Nedarim 55a, and Targum Onkelos to Vayikra 25:3). Could be that the Akkadian cognate, if ...
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  • 7,392
7 votes
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Rosh hashana: is it really two days?

The reason that we keep 2 days on all festivals outside of Israel is because originally it was a doubt whether the new month had been declared, and word did not reach far enough for them to know by ...
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7 votes

What is the point of praying if your fate is already decided on Rosh Hashana?

Rosh Hashanah 16a: Rav Yosef said: Like whom do we hold that we pray nowadays for the sick and ailing? Like whom? Like Rabbi Yosi! [who says that "a person is judged every day"] And if you'...
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  • 8,183
7 votes
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What is the history and purpose behind Teki'ah Gedolah?

This is mentioned in the Sefer Minhagim of Maharil (Hilchos Shofar # 13). The reason given there is that it lets people know that the set of shofar blasts has been completed: אמר מהר"י סג"ל דלהכי ...
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6 votes
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Can you blow a shofar for fun on Rosh Hashanah?

Both the Aruch HaShulchan and the Kitzur Yalkut Yosef forbid adults to blow the Shofar after one has fulfilled one's obligation, with the exception of blowing for somebody else or if one isn't sure ...
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6 votes
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Who added on the words לאלתר לחיים טובים ולשלום to the greeting לשנה טובה תכתב ותחתם?

Luach Hahalachos Uminhagim - 5771 page 30 - note 13 says this is based on the Chayai Adam 139:5 & Elef Hamagain 40 Chayai Adam 139:5 says that one should say תכתב ותחתם לאלתר לחיים טובים Elef ...
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  • 2,148
6 votes

What are the 4 New Years?

RH 1:1: ארבעה ראשי שנים הם. (1) באחד בניסן ראש השנה למלכים. ולרגלים. (2) באחד באלול. ראש השנה למעשר בהמה. רבי אלעזר ורבי שמעון אומרים באחד בתשרי. (3) באחד בתשרי ראש השנה לשנים. ולשמיטין. ...
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6 votes

Rosh Hashanah as a Day of Friendliness

Yannai has a phrase in one of his kerovot for Rosh Hashanah (Zulai's ed., p. 321) that goes: וירצה בעם בו תרועת מלך In N. Bronznick's book on Yannai's liturgy (Piyyutei Yannai - Biurim U'pirushim, ...
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5 votes
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If a Shofar blower must blow twice for two concurrent minyanim, does he need to say the bracha twice?

There is no Mitzva to blow Shofar on Rosh haShana. Accordingly, there is no Bracha on doing so. This is a Mitzva to hear the Shofar being blown, and there is a Bracha said before doing so ("...and ...
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5 votes
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I am looking for an algorithm to calculate Molad Tishrei for any given year

Here's a detailed explanation, with pseudocode-like notation. http://individual.utoronto.ca/kalendis/hebrew/molad.htm#calc. The following is my own summary: MonthlyMoladDifference = 29 days + 12 ...
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  • 8,183
5 votes

Taschlich Bread crumbs on Yom Tov

In the seffer haminhagim of the Maharil, the source of tashlich quoted in the Ramma end of siman 583, he mentions in hilchos Rosh Hashana ois 9 when going to tashlich on Rosh Hashana to be carefull ...
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5 votes
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What is the real first month of the Jewish year?

The Jewish calendar actually has more than one "new year", depending on what you're counting. 1 Nissan is the new year for months; when the torah says "in the seventh month" (or some other numeric ...
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5 votes
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The Medrash and Gemara about Hoshana Rabbah

Isaiah (58:2): וְאוֹתִי, יוֹם יוֹם יִדְרֹשׁוּן, וְדַעַת דְּרָכַי, יֶחְפָּצוּן; כְּגוֹי אֲשֶׁר-צְדָקָה עָשָׂה, וּמִשְׁפַּט אֱלֹהָיו לֹא עָזָב, יִשְׁאָלוּנִי מִשְׁפְּטֵי-צֶדֶק, קִרְבַת אֱלֹהִים ...
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5 votes

Why is this Rosh Hashanah piyut recited differently from how it is printed?

Kovetz Yagdil Torah Volume 17 - page 39 says that originally there were alternate stanzas with Melech Elyon then Melech Evyon throughout the entire Piyut. He says that since the Melech Evyon verses ...
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5 votes
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May one make up their own simanim for Rosh Hashanna?

Rabbi Heinemann in Baltimore has answered your question as yes you may. For example, a lettuce, half of a raisin, and celery Lettuce half a raisin celery Let us have a raise in salary I should note ...
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5 votes
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Rosh Hashanah Amidah - Neshama be-apo or neshamah ve-apo?

In Biblical Hebrew if an open syllable is followed by a begadkefat letter, the initial letter of the syllable loses dagesh, unless it is separated by a divider trop (e.g. tifcha). Please refer to the ...
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  • 7,025
5 votes

Musaf verses for Rosh Chodesh on Rosh Hashanah

What you're looking for is ruled in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 591:2. The Shulchan Aruch writes: המנהג פשוט בכל בני ספרד שאין מזכירין פסוקי קרבן מוסף כלל The widespread custom in all the Sefardic ...
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  • 18.6k
4 votes

Alternative to Selichot?

ELiyahu Ki Tov in Sefer Hatoda'ah (Book of Heritage) mentions that Elul is am "Et Ratzon" - a time of "acceptance"/ Therefore, this is an appropriate month to concentrate on Teshuva. Saying Selichot ...
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