The Theme of Rosh Hashana

Shavua Tov. As we prepare for Rosh Hashana, we are to be aware of the theme of this holiday which is also known as Day of Remembering, and Day of Judgement.

Much of the prayers for the day focus on our acknowledgement of Hashem as King. It is necessary to first understand to whom we are praying. Throughout the High Holiday liturgy, we sing praises to G-d and recognize how small and insignificant we are compared to the Master of the Universe. These prayers come to a peak in the Mussaf service when we come to the classic prayer, Unetana Tokef. It is then that we compare ourselves to a flock of sheep being brought before the slaughter. The shepherd decides which sheep will live and which shall die.

The prayer continues with the well known song that on Rosh Hashana, we are written in the book and on Yom Kippur we are inscribed. We are not to take this day lightly but understand that so much is at stake for us, our families, and the entire Jewish nation. We end this most solemn prayer with a determined chant,”Prayer, Repentance, and Charity, can change the evil decree.

May we all be written in the Book of Life with a healthy and happy New Year.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.
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