When a Loved One Passes Away on Rosh Hashanah

What is Rosh Hashanah 

Rosh Hashanah is considered both a time of rejoicing and of serious introspection. A time to celebrate the completion of another year while also taking stock of one’s life. 

The Spiritual Significance of Cycles

 In Jewish religion, a year is more than simply a quantity of time – it is a cycle. A year is a sequence of transitions that come to a close, only to repeat itself again and again. Physically, this is akin to marking the completion of the solar cycle and the four seasons which are forever bound to repeat themselves. Spiritually, this refers to the repetitious cycle of varying spiritual influences that are unveiled through the repeating festivals fixed on the Jewish calendar (i.e. freedom on Passover, joy on Sukkot, and introspection on Rosh Hashanah).  

Symbolism of Challah Bread 

The bread that is traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah further exemplifies the significance of repetitious cycles. Known in Hebrew as ‘Challah’, this bread is traditionally braided or woven into a circular shape that is meant to represent cyclical nature of the world both spiritually and physically.   

Repetitious Cycles Don’t Negate the Idea of Growth 

When you break down the translation for the Hebrew word for year (Shanah), it translates to mean both ‘change’ as well as ‘repetition’. Spiritually speaking, each year of our lives are a repeat of the last. Each new cycle however, goes through the spiritual movements on a higher level than the last insofar that we have accumulated maturity and achievements that have elevated us. It can be thought of like this: each individual lives one year. They are bound to relive their 1 year lives as many times as they are afforded until they pass over the spiritual plane. Each year is experienced at an elevated level much like the pattern of an upright screw.  

Passing Over on Rosh Hashanah is a Good Omen 

In Jewish religion, a fulfilled life is one that consists in complete years or cycles. It is believed that when an individual who passes over to the other side during Rosh Hashanah, the end of the Jewish year, it is a good omen. It is often believed that God had purposefully chosen to hold the person back from crossing over until the very last moment because they were needed the most.  


If you or someone close to you are grieving the loss of a loved one during this time, take solace in the fact that God kept them here until the very last second because they were undeniably special – not only in your eyes but in the eyes of God.  

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