Rosh Hashanah 101 #2: Will the Real Name Please Stand Up

The name Rosh Hashanah is NOT found in the Torah at all! The name literally means Head of the Year.

In the Book of Devarim we read:

דברים פרק יא פסוק יב

אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ דֹּרֵשׁ אֹתָהּ תָּמִיד עֵינֵי יְקֹוָק אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּהּ מֵרֵשִׁית הַשָּׁנָה וְעַד אַחֲרִית שָׁנָה

It is a land the Lord your God looks after, on which the Lord your God always keeps His eye, from year’s beginning to year’s end.

Even though the sentence is referring to the Land of Israel the BAAL HATURIM (Rabbi Jacob Ben Asher (1269) offers a different take:

ואם היו צדיקים בתחילת השנה והקב"ה גזר עליהם גשמים וסרחו, מורידן בימים ובמדברות

If you are righteous at the beginning of the year, then the Holy One Blessed is He, will provide rains and will fall where it is needed.

In other words, our behavior on the first two days of the year can have a definite positive impact on the rest of the year! Let us take advantage of the unique opportunity presented and make the best out of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

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