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Tuesday, Elul 17 5782 / September 13, 2022


On Rosh Hashana the Shofar is blown after the reading of the Torah and again during the Musaf prayers.


We make three different sounds with the Shofar -- Tekia, a long sound; Shevarim, three broken sounds (like sighs); and Terua, which is like a wailing sound. At the end of each series of sounds, we blow a "Tekia Gedolah" - a "Long Blow."  This last Tekia sound is extended longer than the other Tekia.


Q.  What is the reason for the Tekia Gedolah – the long sound?


A.One of the reasons for the sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana is to remind us of the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai which was accompanied by the sound of the Shofar.


The Giving of the Torah concluded with a long blast (see Exodus 19).  Thus, we conclude the series of blasts of the Shofar with a "long blast."


Q.On Rosh Hashana, after we recite the Hamotzi-blessing over the Challah-bread, we dip it into honey before eating it. We also dip an apple in honey on the first night of Rosh Hashana. What is the significance of the honey on Rosh Hashana?


A.This is to express our wish and plea for a sweet New Year. There are various customs regarding the foods which we eat on Rosh Hashana.  They all have a common objective -- to symbolize, whether by their name or sweet taste, our sincere wishes that G-d grant us a happy and sweet year.


A sweet year is good for everyone, even for diabetics, who have to refrain from sweets...  


In addition, there is also a more mystical reason which relates to the numerical value of honey.


The Hebrew word for honey is "Dvash."  The numerical value of "Dvash" is 306 (4+2+300=306).  This is the same numerical value as the words "Av HaRachamim" (1+2+5+200+8+40+10+40=306) - "Merciful Father." Thus, honey on Rosh Hashana is an expression of confidence that our Merciful Father in heaven will grant us His blessings for a sweet year.


Another interesting point is made by our sages concerning the sweetness of honey and its relationship to Rosh Hashana. Honey is produced as a result of the bees collecting sweet nectar from many flowers.


So too, the honey we eat on Rosh Hashana symbolizes our prayer that G-d shouldnot judge us as individuals but as part of the entire nation of Israel (Klal Yisrael). This symbolic gesture is an expression of our wish that G-d will collect all the mitzvot and good deeds performed by everyone. Together, they will surely provide enough merits to assure that we are all blessed with a happy, healthy, successful, and very sweet year. Amen.