Are you new to celebrating the Biblical holidays? You came to the right place! Today I want to discuss Yom Teruah in more detail and talk about ways to celebrate!
Yeshua had a cousin who was a prophet. His message was simple, “Turn from your sins to YHWH, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” (Mattiyahu 3:2)
Like Yochanan the Immerser, Yom Teruah also carries with it a message of repentance. The start of the spiritual new year calls us to examine ourselves and our actions of the past months and turn back to YHWH.
Repentance (teshuvah in Hebrew) bears so much significance in Scripture that rabbis have declared the entire month of Elul and the first ten days of Tishrei to be a special time of reflection and repentance to prepare for Yom Kippur. This is a total of 40 days of spiritual preparation.
It is possible that these 40 days—where Yom Teruah is day 31—correlate to Yeshua’s 40 days of fasting in the wilderness in Mattiyahu 4, where he headed following his immersion by his cousin. Luke 3:23 supports this hypothesis by mentioning that Yeshua was “about 30 years old” when he began his ministry. Since we know Yeshua was born in the fall wouldn’t it make sense that it was at the spiritual start of the year when he began teaching and doing miracles?
Whether or not that idea is correct we should take this opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new year. We are instructed to do so in Vayikra 23, and like all the festivals of YHWH it bears much significance.
How do we celebrate?
1. Rest. This is the first direction for Yom Teruah given in Vayikra 23:23. Take the day off from work and take it easy!
2. Regather. Scripture calls for a holy convocation. Attend a congregation for worship if possible or take this opportunity to gather family and like minded believers together.
3. Remember. Hopefully you have the opportunity to recollect with your family or congregation, but if not at least make it a point to reflect by yourself. You can journal or discuss these questions: What did this past year consist of? What significant events happened and how did you see YHWH’s hand in them? What were your favorite parts of the year? Is there something you would like to do-over? How have you grown spiritually?
4. Sound the shofar. If you don’t have a spiritually like-minded group to meet with, you may want to consider purchasing a shofar. Yom Teruah is after all the Day of the Sounding, and shofars are also blown on Rosh Chodesh.
5. Bring an offering. Vayikra 23:25 specifies an offering made by fire, as in an animal sacrifice. In lieu of that consider a financial offering and ask YHWH what he would have you do. Making time for studying the Word, a volunteer commitment, and offering hospitality to others are a few ideas.
Those are the Scripturally mandated ways to celebrate Yom Teruah. Other traditions include having or attending a festive meal. Apples dipped in honey are often eaten in hopes of a sweet year. The traditional greeting for Yom Teruah is, “L’shana tova,” which approximates to, “Have a great year!”
Do you have a favorite Yom Teruah tradition? I would love to hear about it! Need more inspiration? Visit my Yom Teruah board on Pinterest for decoration ideas, traditional recipes, and fun crafts!