Shalom, everyone! The biblical holiday of Yom Teruah (Day of Blasting, Day of Shouting) is observed each year on the 1st day of the Seventh Month (1 of Ethanim/Tishrei). The holiday is one of YAH‘s moe’dim (appointed times) which He commanded B’nei Yisrael commemorate as a sacred occasion with the sounding (loud blasts) of horns (shofarim), an offering by fire and a day of rest.
Yom Teruah is also known as “Yom HaDin” (“Day of Judgment”) and begins the ten-day period of penitence called the Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”) which ends on Yom HaKippurim. During this ten-day period, B’nei Yisrael perform self-examination and recite special penitential prayers beseeching The Creator for mercy and a favorable judgment for past deeds performed during the year. This judgment is said to be written on Yom Teruah, whether reward or punishment, but sealed on Yom HaKippurim, after which the judgment cannot be postponed or altered for the remainder of the year.
After the Babylonian Exile, Yom Teruah became known as “Rosh HaShanah” (“Head of the Year”), the beginning of the new civil year when the year number increments by one on the post-exilic Hebrew calendar. Talmudic tradition holds that the Creation of the world was completed on Rosh HaShanah. Rosh HaShanah also serves as the new year for sabbatical years, jubilee years and legal contracts.
In ancient times, B’nei Yisrael would mark Yom Teruah with a sacred occasion including sounding (loud blasts) of the horn (shofar). All the people were commanded to hear the sounding of the shofar during the holiday. When the Tabernacle and later the Holy Temple stood, B’nei Yisrael would bring the following offerings on Yom Teruah:
- Burnt Offering: One bull, one ram, and seven yearling male lambs
- Sin Offering: One male goat kid
- Meal Offering: Choice flour mixed with oil – three-tenths measure of a bull, two-tenths for a ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs
In modern times, B’nei Yisrael mark Yom Teruah with the loud blasts of the shofar during special holiday prayer services. These prayer services are joyous occasions with songs of praise and worship to The Creator, and exhortation of the community to self-examine, repent from and seek forgiveness for wrongdoing, and return to Torah observance. Most communities also celebrate the holiday by visiting family and friends and having a festive meal.