Blessings for Rosh Hashanah

According to Jewish tradition, God understands all languages.  Another important teaching is that the prayer of one’s heart always finds its way to God.  Therefore, it is appropriate and valid to pray to God in any language in which one feels most comfortable.

For many people, Hebrew is the “preferred” language of prayer because it is the language of the Torah and is therefore considered “holy.”  However, there is no reason to refrain from saying prayers if one cannot read, understand, or pronounce Hebrew words.  It is the act of offering appreciation for God’s goodness to us that is most important.


Candle Lighting on the First Night of Rosh Hashanah

After lighting candles, recite the following blessing:

Hebrew: Candles
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-d-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-va-nu l’had-lik ner shel Shab-bat v’shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe Who makes us holy
with Your mitzvot and commands us to kindle the lights of the Sabbath and the holiday.


The Shehehiyanu on the First Night

On the first night, recite the following blessing after the blessing for candles:

The Shehehiyanu
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam,
she-he-che-ya-nu v’ki-y’ma-nu v’hi-gi-a-nu laz’man ha-zeh.


Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who has granted us life, Who has sustained us,
and Who has enabled us to reach this festive occasion.


Candle Lighting on the Second Night of Rosh Hashanah

Hebrew: Candles
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam,
asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.


Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who makes us holy with Your mitzvot and commands us to kindle the lights of the holiday.


The Shehehiyanu on the Second Night

On the second night, after the candle lighting, something new other than the holiday should be blessed.  It is traditional to recite the shehehiyanu in connection with eating a seasonal fruit for the first time or when wearing a new piece of clothing for the first time.  If you are going to eat a piece of fruit, say the blessing first, then take a bit of the fruit.  If you are wearing a new piece of clothing, just say the blessing:


The Shehehiyanu
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam,
she-he-cheyanu v’kimanu v’higianu laz’man ha-zeh.


Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who has granted us life, Who has sustained us,
and Who has enabled us to reach this festive occasion.


Blessing over the Wine

(This is s short version; a longer version, the High Holy Day “Kiddush” can be found in prayer books for the High Holy Days.)  Recite the following blessing before taking a sip of wine:


Hebrew: Wine
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, borei p’ri ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who creates the fruit of the vine.


Blessing over the Bread

Recite the following blessing before taking a bite of bread. Some people have the tradition of not dipping the bread in salt, as is usually done on Shabbat. This is because of the idea of avoiding bitter or sour foods on a day of “sweetness.”


Hebrew: Bread
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam,
ha-mo-tzi le-chem min ha-a-retz.


Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
Who brings forth bread from the land.


Prayer for Bread Dipped in Honey

Instead of dipping the bread in salt, some people dip the bread in honey.  Those Who do so, say the following blessing that combines the blessing for bread with an additional prayer. One does not say the blessing over bread twice.  Eat the bread dipped in honey after saying the following blessing:


Ye-hi ra-tzon mil-le-fa-ne-chah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu vay-lo-hei a-vo-tei-nu sheh-t’cha-daish a-lei-nu sha-nah toe-vah oo-m’-too-kah.

May it be Your will, Adonai our God, and the God of our ancestors,
to favor us with a good and a sweet year.


Before eating apples dipped in honey, recite the following blessing:

Hebrew: Tree
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, bo-rei p’ri ha-etz.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.

Return to the Rosh Hashanah page.