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The Spiritual Significance of


The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is literally a window in time. For these two days -- and only these two days, in the entire year -- we have a chance to correct any and all negative actions that we performed over the past twelve months. And by doing so, we can completely remove any negative effects from those actions that were destined to befall us in the coming year. What’s more, the opportunity we have at Rosh Hashanah is not limited to the year that’s just ending. Kabbalah teaches that every year is a microcosm of our entire lives, and even of lifetimes that have come before. So the actions of the past year that we now need to address express the negativity that our souls have been striving to correct lifetime after lifetime. By making those corrections at Rosh Hashanah, we clear the slate from the very beginning. It’s nothing less than a complete spiritual rebirth! All this is possible at Rosh Hashanah through the confluence of several powerful forces:

The Special Wish…
A beautiful and poignant element of Rosh Hashanah occurs on two occasions during the celebration, once on the first day and again on the second. These are opportunities to make carefully focused wishes in an area of life for which the holiday has particular significance. Depending on our circumstances, we may make a wish that pertains to children, or to our financial well being. If neither of these two areas is presently of urgent concern, we can also wish for closeness and connection to the Light of the Creator, through divine inspiration which will ultimately look after all of our needs. Like the holiday itself, this wish is not only an opportunity to ask for the Creator’s help, but to express our certainty that exactly what we need will come to us. And, with the power of a kabbalistic Rosh Hashanah the coming year will bring a new beginning and a fresh start for all of us.

The Timing of the Holiday
Although Rosh Hashanah is not the start of the calendar year (which occurs during the month of Nissan) it is the beginning of a new spiritual year, with all the opportunities that it brings. The dates of Rosh Hashanah vary according to the Gregorian calendar, but by the Hebrew calendar it always falls on the first of Tishrei. The holiday always takes place at the precise moment in time when the cosmos is aligned for ultimate cleansing and renewal. Rosh Hashanah is truly the beginning of the spiritual year.

Kabbalistic Meditations and Prayer
Kabbalah teaches that meditation is much more than simple introspection or absorption in our own thoughts. Rather, meditation is an important way of putting ourselves directly in touch with the Light of the Creator and, at this special moment of the year, with the unique energies that are available to us only at Rosh Hashanah. The prayers and meditations in the kabbalistic siddur are powerful tools for connecting with the Light. Through these meditations, we cleanse ourselves and allow the Light to rest upon us. Meditation, therefore, clears the way for the power of the shofar to penetrate to the core of our being and eliminate the negativity that resides there.



The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

for the mistakes we’ve made during the year. Many people find it useful to write down specific issues that they need to work on. But, even if we have not undertaken this work, we can still receive the purifying energy of the shofar at the moment of the holiday, by bringing our transgressions into the forefront of our awareness during the ceremony itself. When the last of the 101 notes has sounded, the first day’s blowing of the shofar has been completed. This is a truly powerful time -- a joyous moment, and a miraculous one. The day concludes with a meal and evening services leading into the second day. The second day of Rosh Hashanah follows the same pattern as the first, beginning in the evening with a lecture and services followed by a ceremonial dinner. Then the following morning there is a lecture, a Torah reading, and the blowing of the shofar by the Rav. Once again the Rav sounds the shofar 101 times, connecting with the four levels of Abraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, and David – only this time we are dealing with our less severe transgressions. Consequently, the shofar is not as difficult to blow. The service usually proceeds more quickly, and normally ends by early afternoon. A meal is served, in which our spiritual work is once again manifest. This is followed by an afternoon service, and the holiday concludes at sundown.

The Blowing of the Shofar
The shofar can be an instrument of astonishing mystical power, when used as a tool by a kabbalist such as Rav Berg, who has gained the necessary under standing and has completed the essential spiritual preparations. As it is written in the Zohar, “There is no sound of the shofar which does not ascend to a certain firmament, and all in that firmament make room for this sound.” When the Rav brings the shofar to his lips and sounds a note, this is not merely a symbolic act. The blowing of the shofar, is a tool that has an immediate cleansing and purifying effect on the negative forces affecting the lives of everyone in the synagogue, and even on the negativity in the world as a whole. Rosh Hashanah is a time when there is an opening in the cosmos – that creates a virtual time tunnel in which our thoughts and meditations allow us to travel back to the moments of the past year that require correction. If we arrive at those moments, with the right consciousness, using the right meditations to guide us, the shofar functions like a powerful laser, removing the negativity of our actions and replacing it with Light. The shofar, together with the kabbalistic meditations and prayers of Rosh Hashanah, are powerful and effective spiritual tools. But it’s important to always be clear and aware of what we’re doing at Rosh Hashanah. We are transcending the everyday parameters of time and space. We revisit the moments of our negative behavior, and we rescind the judgments against by removing the causes those judgments. Like travelers in time, we literally construct a new universe -- one in which both our transgressions and the judgments they engendered never even existed. The essence of Rosh Hashanah can be summed up through a simple metaphor of a gardener that plants seeds at certain times of the year in order to bring forth certain flowers. In the past twelve months there have been times when we planted the wrong seed, one, which can germinate into a deformed or dangerous fruit. Now, in the first season of the spiritual year, we have an opportunity to change the seed of our past and replace it with a new seed that is of sharing consciousness. By doing so, we allow beautiful flowers to spring forth. The spiritual work that we do at Rosh Hahsanah expresses itself in 3 specific areas of our lives. To grasp the full importance of this, consider the three vital areas of our lives that are determined by our spiritual work at Rosh Hashanah:

Life: How much more time we will be given? Will we live another year, or will this be the time when we must leave this world? Children: Will we bring children into the world during the year? Will the children already in our families have the connection to the Light of the Creator that only we, their parents, can provide for them?



The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

The Spiritual Significance of Rosh Hashanah

Financial Well Being: In several ways, the power of Rosh Hashanah expresses itself through quantity -- in whether we will be given another year in this world, in the number of our children, and in the financial facts figures that have such an influence on our lives.

times. If you are new to Kabbalah, chances are you’ve never seen or heard a musical instrument anything like the shofar. Unchanged since ancient times, the shofar is made from a ram’s horn. Its sound seems to come not only from another historical period, but even from another world. The Rav’s blowing of the shofar is a major spiritual endeavor, and a difficult physical undertaking as well. With every blast of the shofar, the Rav shatters the negativity accumulated over the past year by everyone in the synagogue, and replaces it with the Creator’s Light. But all that negative energy does not vanish without resistance, and the shofar often becomes very difficult to blow. As a result, this portion of the Rosh Hashanah observance requires time. But the intensity of the experience, both for the Rav and for everyone who is involved in meditation and spiritual cleansing, causes the time to fly by. The 101 soundings of the shofar are divided into four levels. Each has it’s own spiritual connections, and each focuses on eliminating a specific aspect of negative energy: The First 30 Soundings are connected with Abraham, who represents the divine energy of mercy and kindness. These soundings erase negativity associated with idol worship. This does not refer to idolatry in the narrow sense of bowing down to graven images. Kabbalistically, we are worshipping idols whenever we give power in our lives to something or someone other than the Light of the Creator. The Second 30 Soundings connect to Isaac, and to the energy of receiving. Kabbalah teaches that these soundings cleanse the negative effects of incest, which like idol worship is defined in the broadest sense. Here incest refers to any negativity engendered through improper sexual acts. The Third 30 Soundings are a connection with Yaacov, and to the divine balance between mercy and judgment. These notes of the shofar annul the effects of bloodshed -- which includes not just physical violence, but any intention to cause harm or pain. In this sense, Kabbalah even defines causing embarrassment to another person as bloodshed, in the sense that shame can cause blood to rush to someone’s face. The Final 11 Soundings are connected to King David, and to the spiritual energy of malchut, which is the foundation of the physical world. These last soundings deal with the negativity of evil speech, and the damage that is done by any form of gossip or slander. In preparation for this part of the Rosh Hashanah observance, the person who will blow the shofar, the Rav, devotes three days to his own spiritual cleansing, in order to become a pure channel for the energy of the holiday. We just have to focus on the meditations and prayers that the kabbalistic siddur provides during the services. It can be helpful to prepare for the holiday using the days and weeks proceeding the holiday as a time for taking account of and responsibility

How Will Rosh Hashanah Fundamentally Change Your Life?
Beyond its importance for your life, your children, and your financial well being, Rosh Hashanah will fundamentally transform the way you experience and interpret all the events of your life. Once and for all, Rosh Hashanah opens our eyes to the fact that we are not passive victims in a universe of random events. Instead, we are in control of our destiny. A kabbalistic Rosh Hashanah gives us that understanding, and also provides the tools and the opportunity for translating insight into action. At this extraordinary time of year, we can see that whatever happens in our lives is up to us. It is written in the Zohar, “Happy is the portion of whoever is consecrated in this manner by his prayer, who ties the knots and makes unisons, with proper meditation, not deviating right or left. His prayer will not be returned empty handed. Of him it is written, “Let your father and your mother be glad, and let she who bore you rejoice” (Mishlei 23:25). He has a portion in this world and in the World to Come.” A kabbalistic Rosh Hashanah is the means -- and the only means -- whereby we consecrate ourselves as the Zohar describes: “with proper meditation, not deviating right or left.” This is a genuinely transforming experience, a paradigm shift not just for the coming year, but literally for the rest of our lives.

What Happens During Rosh Hashanah at The Kabbalah Centre?
Our Rosh Hashanah celebration takes place over two nights and two days. During the first day, we address our most destructive negative actions and the most severe judgments against us, while on the second day we deal with lighter acts and judgments. This year the holiday begins on a Monday evening, with a lecture by Rav Berg, spiritual services, and a special holiday dinner. Kabbalistically, meals are always significant, and holiday meals are especially important. Food is the physical manifestation of our spiritual work. Holiday meals are a time for making that work part of our being in the most tangible way -- for creating unity between who we are in our souls and who we are in our bodies. On the following morning, the first day of Rosh Hashanah begins with a lecture and reading from the Torah. Following the reading, the most important part of the entire observance will begin: the blowing of the shofar by Rav Berg 101

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