Rosh HaShanah literally means Head of the Year in Hebrew. Another way to think about it is as the birthday of the world, a time for making peace in the community and striving to be a better person. Rosh HaShanah service usually runs from early morning until the afternoon and is so unique that it has its own prayer book called the Makhzor. Eating sweet food symbolizes the hope for a Sweet New Year.The shofar is an important symbol of Rosh HaShanah. It is an instrument often made of a ram's horn and is blown one hundred times during each of the two days of Rosh HaShanah. The sound of the shofar blast reminds people of the importance of reflection and it awakens the listeners from their slumbers and alerts them to the coming judgment.
The shofar is blown in long, short and staccato blasts that follow a set sequence:
- Teki'ah (long sound) Numbers 10:3
- Shevarim (3 broken sounds) Numbers 10:5
- Teru'ah (9 short sounds) Numbers 10:9
- Teki'ah Gedolah (very long sound) Exodus 19:16,19
- Shevarim Teru'ah (3 broken sounds followed by 9 short sounds)