9 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 35.1k
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 1,657
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 35.1k
8 votes
Accepted

(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, ...
  • 73.5k
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 ...
  • 7,577
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'...
  • 8,203
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 48.4k
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 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. ...
  • 18.8k
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, ...
  • 11.8k
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 35.1k
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 ...
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 42.5k
5 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 7,250
5 votes
Accepted

Weekdays atoning for Weekdays during the year

This concept seems to first appear in the writings of the students of the Ari. R. Chayyim Vital, Sha'ar HaKavanot, D'rushei Rosh HaShanah: אמר לי הרב משה גאלאנטי, ששמע ממורי ז"ל: שאם האדם יתענה ...
  • 39.2k
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 ...
  • 18.8k
4 votes
Accepted

Why would a shofar be in a tree?

Presumably because someone put it there. Perhaps he was walking along the road on the 25th of Elul holding a shofar and decided to rest it on a branch (or trunk bifurcation) for a moment while he ...
  • 73.5k
4 votes

Rosh HaShanna glossary: What do hain, hesed, and rachamim mean?

This is an excellent question while at the same time being perhaps too large to really answer in just a few paragraphs. What you are really asking about is one of the main mitzvot that we practice, ...
  • 12.9k
4 votes

For puposes of Tashlich, what is considered a "body of water"?

According to this article it is "ideal" to use a flowing, natural body of water that contains fish and is located outside the city boundaries (MA 583:5; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:21). https://www.ou....
4 votes

Going to Jerusalem for Rosh Hashona and Yom Kippur

As DanF already answered, the Torah only commands us to go for the 3 festivals. However, if you look in the Mishna in Yoma, 7:2, and its commentators, you will learn that there were people who ...
4 votes
Accepted

Differences between the Rosh HaShanah service Ashkenaz/Sefard

In the Amidot of the Yamim Nora'im, in the blessing Kdushat Hashem, in Nusah Sfard four paragraphs beginning ובכן are added. In Nusah Ashkenaz, three are added. In Avinu Malkeinu on Rosh HaShanah, in ...
  • 4,841
4 votes

First Month of your year?

There are several new years. (What!?) There is a new year for the world, a new year for the Jewish people, a new year for the trees, etc. Nissan is the first month because it's the new year for the ...
  • 17.9k
4 votes

Different groupings for the Shofar soundings

Focusing on the question of blowing during the silent amidah of musaf, R. E. Melamed has an in-depth article available here (Hebrew). I will summarize some of his key points in my answer here. The ...
  • 39.2k
4 votes
Accepted

Can the toke'ah practice blowing on Erev Rosh Hashannah?

There are different reasons one doesn't blow on Erev Rosh Hashana, one to differentiate between Elul (where the sounding is a custom) and Rosh Hashana (where it is a mitzva d'oraita), another to "...
  • 44.3k
4 votes

Why use bee honey on Rosh Hashana?

According to Levush [O”Ch 583] honey is a custom of Ashkenaz. Apparently, when the custom developed, date honey was not available. In fact, since dates are one of the symbolic foods for Rosh Hashana ...
  • 121
4 votes

When did Rosh Hashanah begin?

In the days of the Talmud, witnesses would report to the Sanhedrin that they saw the new moon, and then the court would declare that the month started. Even if the court knew that the moon should be ...
  • 6,764
4 votes

Blessing Shehechyanu long before eating in second evening of Rosh Hashana

See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 225:3. One makes shehecheyanu upon seeing a new fruit (although customarily this blessing is deferred until eating of the fruit). Thus, on the second night of Rosh ...
  • 39.2k
3 votes
Accepted

For puposes of Tashlich, what is considered a "body of water"?

I was in Yerushalayim for Rosh Hashanah this year for the first time. I saw in Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael in Rechavia that they had a small fishbowl with two goldfish swimming in it to be used for ...
  • 39.2k
3 votes

Why would a shofar be in a tree?

The Shulchan Aruch (586:21) just uses this example since it was an example of the Mishna in Rosh Hashana (4:8) (32b in the Gemara). You make no mention of the Mishnah and assume that is must have ...
  • 35.1k

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