Rosh Hashana- shofar with machzor (prayer book) and tallit

Rosh Hashana – The Head of the Year

Rosh Hashana – The Head of the Year

Emor Project
September 12, 2023

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish “New Year,” is not just a time to start the calendar year again. Rather, this Holy Day commemorates the creation of the world. “On Rosh Hashana, we “coronate” Hashem as King, accepting upon ourselves His rulership, and on this awe-filled day, Hashem judges the world.


The Kabbalists teach that the universe’s continued existence depends on God’s desire for a world, which is renewed when we accept His kingship anew each year on Rosh Hashana.


Hashem created everything in our world via His speech, which also keeps His creation alive and in motion.


As described in Bereshit, for example, through the utterance “Let be a firmament” (Bereshit 1:6), Hashem created the firmament and these words serves as its maintenance.


The Baal Shem Tov explains that unlike human speech – which, once spoken, is gone – Hashem’s ‘speech’ is everlasting. This means that the Ten Utterances used to create the world continue to stand, constantly re-creating the world. (Tanya, Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah, ch. 1)


The shofar blasts are sounds without speech. Speech represents the division of sound into varied and separate mouth movements. But sound itself is one and united. Sound reaches our soul and allows us to cleave to our Source, i.e., The Life Force, Hashem.


That is why Rosh Hashana is the Head of the Year. On this Holy Day, we can reconnect to the flow of the Divine Life/the Source of the soul’s renewal as it was before this flow of Divine Light was transformed from spirit to matter.


Based on teachings of The Sefat Emet and Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi