The Significance of Yom Teruah

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The Significance of Yom Teruah
By Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

I. Introduction

In the Torah, this feast is known as Yom Teruah (Day of Shofar Sounding), however, most of us know the feast as Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year). Surprisingly, this feast is never called Rosh HaShanah in the Torah. In English, this feast is normally called the Feast of Trumpets.

Yom Teruah, The Day of Blowing the Shofar, occurs on the first day of the seventh month, the month of Tishri on the Biblical calendar (on the Gregorian calendar this normally is in the September / October timeframe. Yom Teruah, this year, will begin the evening of September 12, 2007 [Tishri 1, 5768] and end at sundown on September 14, 2007), the month of Tishri. Because it occurs on the first day of the month, it is by definition also Rosh Chodesh, a new moon.

Because all new moons are sanctified by the Sanhedrin (The Beit Din Gadole – The Great Court) on the basis of the testimony of two witnesses, HaShem (HaShem is a Hebrew word meaning "The Name", it is how pious Jews refer to the yod-hay-vav-hay, the tetragrammaton, Name of God), and all His hosts, must literally wait, up to twenty-four hours, for men to sanctify the new moon before He can come and judge us.

Since Yom Teruah can occur on the weekly Shabbat, it has a rather unique status among all of the festivals. It is the only festival on which all of the following sacrifices (from the Hebrew word korban, which means to draw near) can be offered:

1. The daily offerings.
2. The Shabbat offerings.
3. The new moon offerings.
4. The festival offerings.

This is truly a day to draw near to HaShem! Lets begin our study by seeing what the scriptures have to say about drawing near to HaShem :

Yeshayahu Isaiah) 55:1 - 56:8 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of HaShem[1] your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor." Seek HaShem while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to HaShem, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares HaShem. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for HaShem’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed." This is what HaShem says: "Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Shabbat without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." Let no foreigner who has bound himself to HaShem say, "HaShem will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." For this is what HaShem says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Shabbats, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant-- To them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to HaShem to serve him, to love the name of HaShem, and to worship him, all who keep the Shabbat without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." The Sovereign HaShem declares--he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."

When is HaShem near? Surely He is near during Yamim Noraim (the Awesome Days)! The Yamim Noraim are the ten days from Yom Teruah to Yom HaKippurim (the day of Atonement).

On Yom Teruah it is the duty of HaShem's people to recite:

Tehillim (Psalms) 118:24 This is the day HaShem has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Let us strive to draw near to HaShem even as His Mashiach was near to Him:

Yochanan (John) 10:30 I and [my] Father are one.