The Jewish People begin the High Holydays on Wednesday evening, ushering in the year 5772 by starting nearly a month of special days: Two days of Rosh Hashanah on Thursday and Friday are this year followed immediately by Shabbat Shuva, the Sabbath of Repentance, and on Sunday by the Fast of Gedaliah.
Rosh Hashana is also the start of the Ten Days of Repentance which culminate with the solemn Fast of Yom Kippur on the tenth day of Tishrei. Special verses about repentance are added to the silent Amidah prayer said three times daily during these ten days.
This is Judaism’s time for introspection, when Jews look back and examine their actions in the year that has just ended, seeking to improve their observance of the Torah’s commandments directed towards G-d and towards their fellow man. They are expected to ask forgiveness from those they may have offended or hurt during the past year.
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