Yom Teruah Is Karaite Practice of Rosh Hashana

Karaite Judaism’s Practice

Karaite Judaism believes that the Jewish New Year starts with the 1st month.  As mentioned in the Torah, Karaite Jews celebrate this holiday only as a day of rejoicing and shouting.

The karaites believe that adopting Rosh Hashana to replace Yom Teruah is a result of a pagan Babylonian influence, which first starts with the use of Babylonian month names.  This influence is admitted in the Talmud when the jewish people was sojourned in Babylonia.  Apart from the Babylonian month names, the Jewish people had then become more susceptible to other Babylonian practices; thus led to the practice of Rosh Hashana.  In the Torah, the months are numbered as First Month, Second Month, Third Month, and so on.  See Leviticus 23; Numbers 28.

The karaites do not (allow) work on the day, except what is needed to prepare food

Leviticus 23:23-25

23 And YHWH spoke to Moshe saying: 24 Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts. 25 You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall bring an offering by fire to the YHWH.

Numbers 29:1-10

“‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; it is a day of blowing the shofar for you. 2 Prepare a burnt offering to make a fragrant aroma for Adonai — one young bull, one ram and seven male lambs in their first year and without defect — 3 with their grain offering, consisting of fine flour mixed with olive oil — six quarts for the bull, four quarts for the ram, 4 and two quarts for each of the seven lambs — 5 also one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for you. 6 This is to be in addition to the burnt offering for Rosh-Hodesh with its grain offering, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to the rule for them; this will be a fragrant aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai.

Yom Teruah (יוֹם תְּרוּעָה‎) is the biblical name for Rosh Hashana (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה).

Yom Teruah literally means the day of shouting or blasting; while Rosh Hashana literally means the head of the year.

It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, Yamim Nora’im (יָמִים נוֹרָאִים‎ ).  Yamim Nora’im literally means Days of Awe.


Yom Teruah Is Also Known As

Yom Teruah is also known as Zikhron Teru’ah, which means the memorial [with the] blowing [of horns].  It is also known as shabbat shabbaton (‘שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן‎’) or penultimate Sabbath (meditative rest day).  It is holy day to God.

Rosh Hashana in Bible (Tanakh)

The term Rosh Hashanah appear once in Ezekiel 40:1.  It can generally mean the beginning of the year or it can also mean to reference Yom Kippur.  It can also refer to Nisan. See Ezekiel 40:1, Exodus 12:2, Exodus 13:3–4, Ezekiel 45:18, and Ezekiel 45:21.  That said, Rosh Hashanah in its current meaning does not really appear in the Torah.

Karaite’s View of Yom Teruah

Karaites remind themselves of the following during this day:

  • to act in a holy manner,
  • to remember the Sabbath,
  • to provide for the poor, and
  • to treat others with compassion.

These are in preparation of Yom Kippur, day of atonement.

More on Karaite’s Experience of Yom Teru’ah, which is a A Shofar-less Rosh Hashanah.