Festivals, Prayers & Services
(Day of Shout & Trumpet)
HOW TO OBSERVE YOM TRU`AH
Yom Tru`ah is also Rosh Chodesh (a New Moon Festival). The New Moon Festival is a day of rest anyway, on which no regular work is done. Yom Tru`ah is also a day of rest – a joyful day, when we celebrate YHVH’s Torah. If you wish to observe the day in a traditional way, here’s a suggestion of a few things you might do:
ON THE EVENING OF THE NEW MOON:
1. Read the following prayers for the New Moon Festival:
(Unless a passage is indicated as read by a specific person, each person takes it in turns to read each passage).
(facing the New Moon)
The first sliver of the New Moon was sighted in Jerusalem this evening, so Happy New Moon Day! Rosh chodesh same’ach!
(now everyone turns away from the New Moon; this is to show God we do not worship the moon itself)
In ancient times, two silver trumpets or a shofar would have been sounded to announce Rosh Chodesh, as it is written:
“On your days of joy, at your fixed festivals and New Moon Festivals, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over your well-being sacrifices, and they will be for you a reminder in the presence of your God: I am YHVH your God.”
“Sound the shofar at the New Moon, on the day of our festival; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.”
(Ps 81:3a, 4)
(the shofar is sounded twice)
2. Prayers for the Sanctification of the New Moon Day
“Blessed be YHVH our God, who has set the Moon in the night sky as a memorial to the work of His creation; for He made the lesser light to rule over the night, and as a sign to mark the seasons and appointed festivals, and to give light upon the earth.” Amein
(Gen 1: 14-18)
“Blessed be YHVH our God, who has ordained a place for the stars, the sun and the moon, to measure the times and the seasons. We marvel at the order You have made, how You have fashioned the paths of the heavenly bodies. We bless You for the gift of Time – for the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days, the months and the years. Help us to value the quality of their passing, and not yearn for the speed of their ending.” Amein
Let us rejoice with those who are able to celebrate this day of rest, and accompany in spirit those who, for whatever reason, are unable to observe this day.
In ancient times, Rosh Chodesh was a solemn day of rest, and people did not travel. There was no work, and no selling. It was a day of worship, and of remembering. And it was a joyful day!
“We stand in awe and wonder before YHVH our God, who is sovereign over all, blessed be the Holy One! For God stretched forth the heavens like a tent and established the earth. Truly there is none like YHVH our God. As Torah says, ‘Know this day, and reflect in your heart that it is YHVH who is God in the heavens above, and on the earth below; there is no one else’.”
How glorious Your works in the heavens! How wondrous Your handiwork upon the earth! Behold the thousands and the myriads of stars, and the majesty of Your being is by far greater than their number!
Blessed be YHVH! Blessed be God’s Holy Name! Amein!
Rosh chodesh same’ach! Happy New Moon Day! This is the First Day of the Seventh Month of the 3,46Xth year after the Exodus, when with mighty signs and wonders, YHVH brought Israel out of Egypt.
(Now the evening meal is eaten).
2. After the evening meal, read aloud the references to Yom Tru`ah, Lev 23:23-25, and Num 29:1-6
YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, there shall be for you a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation for remembering, commemorated with shouting and trumpeting. You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present YHVH’s offering by fire.
On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. It is a day of shouting and trumpeting for you, and you shall offer a burnt offering, a pleasing odour to YHVH: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish. Their grain offering shall be of choice flour mixed with oil, three-tenths of one ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; with one male goat for a sin offering, to make expiation for you. These are in addition to the burnt offering of the New Moon and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to the ordinance for them, a pleasing odour, an offering by fire to YHVH.
ON THE MORNING OF YOM TRU`AH,
at daybreak (around 6 am – if one is able!)
*All dress in fresh, clean, smart clothing
a. At home, begin by simply opening your bible to the first page of the Book of Deuteronomy. Then put it to one side.
Light a candle, and then say,
“Blessed be YHVH, who has given us the Light of Torah”
(This prayer-service is designed for observance at home; however, if this is taking place in the synagogue, then the Torah scrolls are processed into the main area of the synagogue with rejoicing and song. Once the scrolls have been set on the reading-desk / bimah, continue with the following)
For what follows, compare with Neh 8:5-6:
b. Stand up and face Jerusalem
c. Sing a psalm of praise to YHVH:
“YHVH is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer!
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
YHVH is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?
YHVH is the strength of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
YHVH is my strength and my shield.
My heart trusts in God, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices greatly,
And with my song I will praise YHVH
I will say of YHVH: God is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in whom I will trust!
YHVH is my strength and my song,
And has become my salvation.”
d. Lift up ones hands and say,
‘Amein! Amein! Amein!’
e. Make a deep bow, in praise of God (that is, kneel and touch one’s head to the ground – see Neh 8:6).
Part 2. Now sit and read Nehemiah 8:1-12
When the seventh month came — the people of Israel being settled in their towns —all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Teaching of Moses, which YHVH had given to Israel. Accordingly, Ezra the priest brought the Teaching before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Teaching. Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Ma’aseiah on his right hand; and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchiyah, Hashum, Hash-baddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. And Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed YHVH, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amein, Amein,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshiped YHVH with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah the Levites, helped the people to understand the law, while the people remained in their places. So they read from the scroll, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to YHVH your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Teaching. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the best of your food and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Sovereign; and do not be grieved, for the joy of YHVH is your strength.” So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions [of food as gifts], and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Part 3. If you can, read the WHOLE of the Book of Deuteronomy (this has greater impact if one reads this aloud, and if one reads the Holy Name of YHVH instead of ‘Hashem’ or ‘Adonai’ or ‘the Lord’). It usually takes about 6 hours in all.
(If this is taking place in the synagogue, then in order to last the whole 6 hours, each chapter is read first in Hebrew, then in English (or whatever the vernacular language of the congregation is; one person can be the Hebrew reader, and a second can be the English-language reader)
Part 4. You should be finished by midday.
Since this is a festival to remind us of the details of YHVH’s Torah, you can then say a few words of thanks for the Torah:
Leader: Blessed be YHVH, who has given us Torah, that we might become better human beings.
R/ Blessed be YHVH, who liberates our souls with Torah! Amein! Amein!
Before the ‘Shout & Trumpet’, say the following litany and prayer:
A Litany of the Titles of YHVH,
The prayer-leader reads each line, and the response after every line is, ‘Barukh YHVH!’
Blessed be YHVH! Barukh YHVH!
Blessed be YHVH, the living God, Elohim chayyim!
Blessed be YHVH, the Holy God, Elohim q’doshim!
Blessed be YHVH, the Eternal God, Eil `olam!
Blessed be YHVH, the Faithful God, Eil ha-ne’eman!
Blessed be YHVH, our Redeemer from of old, Go’aleinu mei`olam!
Blessed be YHVH, God Most High, Eil Elyon!
Blessed be YHVH, God of the holy mountains, Eil Shadday!
Blessed be YHVH of the Heavenly Battalions, YHVH Tseva’ot!
Blessed be YHVH, the Ancient of Days, ha‑Atiq ha-Yamin!
Blessed be YHVH, Source of the Breath of everything that has life, Elohey ha-ruchot le-khol basar!
Blessed be YHVH, God of Abraham!
Blessed be YHVH, the Awe of Isaac!
Blessed be YHVH, Mighty One of Jacob!
Blessed be YHVH, Shield of David!
Blessed be YHVH, King of Glory!
Blessed be YHVH, King of Kings!
Blessed be YHVH, Lord of Lords!
Blessed be YHVH, the great God!
Blessed be YHVH, the Holy One of Israel!
Blessed be YHVH, Protector and Shield of Israel!
Blessed be YHVH, Light of Israel!
Blessed be YHVH, Giver of Torah!
Blessed be YHVH, God of Compassion!
Blessed be YHVH, the Just and the Merciful!
Blessed be YHVH, the Righteous One!
Barukh YHVH! Amein! Amein!
Ha-maqor ha-amiti – The True Source
All say together:
YHVH alone is the true Source,
the well of living water.
Those who drink of it will never thirst;
those who revere God in awe will never lack wisdom.
YHVH alone is the true grain,
the bread of living abundance.
Those who eat of it will never hunger;
those who meditate on God’s teaching will have a restful spirit.
YHVH alone is the true vine,
with roots deep in fertile soil.
Those who graft themselves onto it will bear good fruit;
those who cleave to God’s ways will prosper.
YHVH alone is the light of the world,
the light of Glory in the heavens.
Those who walk under it will never stumble;
those who keep God’s commandments will reap great reward.
YHVH alone is the good shepherd,
the true guardian of God’s flock.
Those who gather to God will never be lost;
those who walk all their days with justice will feed in good pasture.
YHVH alone is the gate of the sheepfold,
the road to safe pasture in days of darkness.
Those who enter through it will fear no wild beast;
those who are blameless can hold their head high.
YHVH alone is the life of the world to come,
the breath of the holy ones in the heavens.
Those who die shall live;
those who endure in the ways of YHVH shall live forever.
Barukh YHVH! Amein!
Blowing of the Shofar, and shouts of praise to God
If you have a shofar, you can blow the shofar in praise to God. You can also shout out continual praises and blessings to YHVH’s Name.
“YHVH is our God! Praised be to YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH!”
(If this is taking place in the synagogue, the Torah scrolls are then processed with rejoicing and song, and returned back to their holding place (in a Talmidi synagogue, following the ancient, pre-70CE custom of the Land, the Torah ark shall be kept in a separate area or room; they should not be kept behind the Eastern Curtain which indicates the direction of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – which is the direction of worship – to show that we worship YHVH the Living God, not the scrolls). Once the Torah scrolls have been returned to their ark, the congregation can continue with the meal.
Part 5. It is the custom afterwards to eat the best food that one has, and drink fruit juice laced with honey. It is also the custom to share one’s food with those who have little or none, so that everyone might enjoy this day. The text uses the Hebrew word for ‘fatnessess’, and merely means ‘the finest food one has’, and not anything likely to induce a heart attack! The bounty and plenty of our food this day reflects the spiritual bounty and plenty that we gain through God’s Torah.
To open your meal, say some prayers of blessing and thanks for God’s Torah.
Once the meal is concluded, say some prayers in thanks for the meal, blessing the Name of Yahveh.
*Once the meal is over, the community can arrange a distribution of food to the poor