IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


16th September, 2023 Culture

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  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has extended his warmest greetings to the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the friendly people of Israel, and the Jewish people around the world on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah.


  • Rosh Hashanah, which translates to "Head of the Year" in Hebrew, is one of the most important Jewish holidays.
  • It marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days and is a time of reflection, repentance, and celebration.

Significance of Rosh Hashanah

  • Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first and second days of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which usually falls in September or October of the Gregorian calendar.
  • It is considered the Jewish New Year and a time of judgment when God reviews the deeds of each individual in the past year and determines their fate for the upcoming year.
  • It is a time for self-examination, repentance (teshuvah), and setting intentions for personal and spiritual growth in the coming year.

Customs and Traditions

  • Teshuvah (Repentance): Jews engage in introspection and seek forgiveness for their sins. This process involves reflecting on one's actions, apologizing to those they may have wronged, and making a sincere commitment to improve in the coming year.
  • Rosh Hashanah Greeting: The traditional greeting for Rosh Hashanah is "Shanah Tovah u'Metukah," which means "A Good and Sweet Year."
  • Candle Lighting: Candles are lit at sundown to mark the beginning of the holiday.
  • Tashlich: A custom where people go to a body of water and symbolically cast away their sins by throwing pieces of bread into the water.
  • Blowing the Shofar: The shofar, a ram's horn, is blown as a central part of the Rosh Hashanah service. It serves as a wake-up call to spiritual reflection.
  • Prayer Services: Special Rosh Hashanah prayer services are held at synagogues, including the recitation of the "Amidah" and "Unetanneh Tokef" prayers.
  • Wearing White: Many people dress in white on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize purity and a fresh start.

Prayers and Liturgy

  • The Rosh Hashanah prayer service includes the recitation of special prayers like the "Avot v'Imahot" (Patriarchs and Matriarchs) and "Zichronot" (Remembrances) sections.
  • The "Tashlich" prayer is recited during the Tashlich ritual by the water.


Rosh Hashanah is a time for Jews to come together with family and community, seek forgiveness and renewal, and look forward to the year ahead with hope and optimism. It's a deeply meaningful holiday that encompasses spiritual, cultural, and culinary traditions, all rooted in the desire for a better future.


Q. What is the primary significance of Rosh Hashanah in Jewish tradition?

a) Celebrating the Exodus from Egypt

b) Welcoming the arrival of spring

c) Seeking forgiveness and judgment for the year ahead

d) Remembering the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai

Correct answer: c)