The day that Jews celebrate as the new year is the first day of the seventh month. The Torah describes it as a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts (see Lev. 23:23–5). Jews celebrate this new year festival on the first day of the seventh month probably because this was the time of the Babylonian New Year. Babylonians believed in astral determinism. The stars control our fate. The Babylonian holidays involved tablets of destiny.
Jews can influence their destiny through teshuvah, prayer, and tzedakah. Rabbinic Judaism thus rejects the fatalism of Babylonian astrology. The Babylonian tablets of destiny were transformed into the Rabbinic Books of Life and Death. We have the power to influence which of those we are written in. Rosh Hashanah, for the Rabbis, celebrates the creation and teshuvah of the first people. God should be as merciful toward our transgressions as he was in suspending the punishment of Adam and Chavvah (Eve). The liturgical readings focus on the births of Isaac and Samuel. It’s a day to celebrate the creation of new worlds.
[Courtesy : Professor Shai Cherry]