Rosh Hashanah Special Readings

Rosh HaShanah – First Day

Samuel I
1:1 – 1:28 & 2:1 – 2-10

There was a man from Ramathaim-Tzophim on Mount Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah, son of Yerocham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Tzuph, a native of Ephrath.

He had two wives, one named Hannah, and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.

special readings

Now this man went up from his city annually to worship and to sacrifice to HaShem in Shiloh where the two sons of Eli, Chophni and Pinchas were priests of HaShem.

When Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion; because he loved Hannah although HaShem had made her childless. Peninnah, however, taunted her mercilessly to irritate her, because she had no children.

This happened year after year — when she went up to HaShem’s house she provoked her, so that she cried and did not eat. Then Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why are you not eating? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After the eating and drinking at Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of HaShem’s Temple. With a sorrowful soul, she prayed to HaShem and cried bitterly.

Then she made a vow, saying, “HaShem if you know my suffering, and remember me, and give me a son, then I will give him to You all the days of his life, and a razor will never touch his head.”

As she continued praying to HaShem, Eli observed her. Now Hannah was speaking inwardly; only her lips moved and her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk.

So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk?”

But Hannah answered, “No, my master, I am a deeply grieved woman. I am not drunk, but have poured out my soul before HaShem. Do not regard me as a worthless woman.”

Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; may the HaShem grant you your prayers.”

Then she went her way, and ate, and was no longer sad.

They rose early in the morning, worshiped before HaShem, and returned to their house in Ramah. Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and HaShem remembered her.

In due time, Hannah conceived and bore a son, whom she named Samuel, saying “I asked HaShem for him.”

The man Elkanah, and his whole household, went up to offer to HaShem the yearly sacrifice and what he had vowed.

But Hannah did not go up; for she told her husband, “I will not go up until the child is weaned, and then I will bring him, so that he may appear before HaShem, and stay there forever.”

Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him and may HaShem establish His word.”

So she remained, and nursed her son until she weaned him. When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with three bullocks, one measure of flour, and a bottle of wine; and brought him to the house of HaShem in Shiloh, when he was but a child.

Then they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

She said, “O my master, as you live; my master, I am the woman who was standing near you, praying to HaShem. I prayed for this child; and HaShem has granted me my petition which I made to Him. I have therefore lent him to HaShem; as long as he lives he will be lent to HaShem.”

Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in HaShem, my glory is raised by HaShem; my mouth derides my enemies; because I rejoice in Your salvation. Do not talk so very proudly; let not arrogance come from your mouth. For HaShem is a Lord of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, while those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who had plenty have hired themselves out for bread; while those who were hungry are at ease. The barren has borne seven and she who had many children is desolate. HaShem causes death and brings to life. He brings down to the grave, and raises up. HaShem makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He lifts the poor from the dust, and raises the beggar from the rubbish, to be seated among princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are HaShem’s, and He has set the world on them. He will guard the feet of his saints, and the wicked will perish in darkness; for no man will prevail by strength. HaShem’s foes will be crushed; He will thunder in heaven against them. HaShem will judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His king, and exalt the power of His anointed.”


Rosh HaShanah – Second Day

Jeremiah 31:1 – 31:19

The people who survived the sword will find grace in the wilderness, when Israel goes to seek rest.

HaShem has loved you with an everlasting love. HaShem will build you again and you will be restored, you will again plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the planters will plant and enjoy its fruit.

For there will come a day, when the watchmen in the hills of Ephraim will cry, “Let us rise, and go up to Zion, to HaShem our Lord.” For this is what HaShem says: ‘Sing merrily for Jacob, and shout on the hilltops of the nations; cry out, praise, and say, ‘O HaShem, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’

Behold, HaShem will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the farthest ends of the earth; among them the blind and the lame, women with child and women in labor; a great company will return here.

They will come weeping and I will lead them with supplications. I will guide them by the streams of water in a straight path, in which they will not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first born.

Hear HaShem’s word and declare it in the far-off islands, saying, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and tend him as a shepherd tends his flock.”

For HaShem has redeemed Jacob and freed him from a stronger power. Therefore, they will come and sing on the heights of Zion, and be radiant over HaShem’s bounty, over the grain, the wine, the oil, and for the young of the flock and the herd; their souls will be like a watered garden; and they will sorrow no more.

Then the maidens will rejoice in dancing, the young men and old will rejoice together; for I will turn their mourning into joy and I will comfort them, and make them rejoice after their sorrow.

I will satisfy the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people will be filled with My goodness.

A voice is heard in Ramah weeping; Rachel is weeping for her children and refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are away. HaShem says: Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded, says HaShem; and they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future that your children will return to their own country. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus: ‘You have chastised me, and I was punished, like an untrained calf; take me back, so that I may return; for You are HaShem. Surely after I turned away, I repented; and after I was instructed, I smote myself in remorse; I was ashamed and confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

Is Ephraim My favorite son? Is he My beloved child? For as often as I speak of him, I still remember him fondly; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him.