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Is Rosh Hashanah on the wrong day?

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Do we celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the right day?

In our davening on the New Year we proclaim,

“HaYom harat olam!” – “This is the day on which Hashem created the world!”

Similarly in our davening we say,

“Zeh hayom techilat maasecha.” – “This is the day on which You commenced Your creativity Hashem,”

“Zikaron leyom rishon.” – “The anniversary of day one.”

But is that correct? Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of the first human being which was day six of Creation. It all actually started on the 25th of Elul!

One of the privileges that I have as Chief Rabbi is to officiate at significant anniversary events. There have been so many occasions on which I’ve celebrated the anniversary of a shul building with communities. I’ve never so far officiated at the anniversary of the laying of a foundation or the completion or even the furnishing of an edifice. It’s always been the anniversary of the first occasion on which the building was used for a purpose.

Surely this is exactly what we celebrate on Rosh Hashanah! It is the anniversary of the first occasion on which human beings used what Hashem had created in this world in a constructive and productive way.

Rosh Hashanah is therefore most certainly celebrated on the right date, recognising what humankind has achieved from the moment we were given the opportunity to do so.

In similar fashion, over these high Holy Days, let us reflect on the past year. To what degree have we utilised the opportunities that Hashem has given us? In what respects have we allowed missed opportunities to occur? This should inspire us to guarantee that during the forthcoming year 5783, we will take advantage of everything that Hashem has created in this world, so that we as individuals, families, communities and a nation will ensure that we make the very best of this year for all of humankind.

I wish you all a shana tova – a happy and wonderful new year.