L’shanah Tovah! Have a good year, y’all!
Rosh Hashanah, the first day of Tishrei, is celebrated in the fall.
Beginning of the 10 Days of Awe, ending with Yom Kippur,
All its prayers and Torah readings appear in a book called Machzor.
The Jewish New Year commemorates the world, at its creation,
It is a period of repentance and introspection.
Jews, from all over the world, go to Shul, on this holiday,
Most of the service is different than on Shabbat Saturdays.
Our Father, Our King – Avinu Malkeinu,
A very powerful prayer, for all Jews.
“Avinu Malkeinu: we have sinned before you!
Avinu Malkeinu: inscribe us in the Book of Good Life!
Avinu Malkeinu: open the gates of heaven to our prayer!”
The Torah reading, for the first day, was from Genesis.
Isaac’s birth to Abraham and Sarah, in their old age, was miraculous!
The second day was how Isaac was sacrificed to G-d, by Abraham.
G-d commanded, at the last minute, to substitute a ram!
Hearing the shofar blown, dates to biblical times, is a mitzvah.
The ram’s horn blasts these sounds: t’kiah, sh’varim, t’kiah g’dolah.
Let the sounds of the shofar wash over you, arouse your soul to come closer to G-d. Let all hear!
It is such a dramatic moment, of the New Year!
There is a Tashlich ceremony, on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah.
The custom dates to the 13th Century. Passages are read from the Prophet Micah.
To symbolically “cast off” your sins, from the previous year.
Torn bread is thrown into any moving body of water, including off a pier.
On Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat foods with symbolic importance,
It helps focus the agenda of the day: prayer, resolution to do good and repentance.
(Rabbi Menachem Meiri, 1249-1310)
“Eating these foods is not so much a prayer,
As an expression of our faith, that we be inscribed for a good, sweet year.”
(Rabbi Shlomo Kruger, 1783-1869)
A round challah represents the cycle of life and the crown with which we coronate G-d every year.
Challah is tasty by itself, but great with honey to schmear.
Several strands of dough, for a braided challah, represents unity.
For the round challah, one strand — wound around, is symbolic to our personal responsibility.
The Talmud relates why were the Jewish people likened to an apple tree?
Like an apple, which buds before its leaves,
Our ancestors obeyed G-d without knowing what he would demand or conceive.
Pleasant appearance, taste and fragrance are qualities of an apple,
It relates to blessing, we pray to G-d to grant us: children, good health and a livelihood that is ample.
A bee is not kosher, but its honey is, for sure,
On Rosh Hashanah, we pray that although we ourselves may be unworthy and impure,
G-d should still accept the prayers, that come from our lips, as pure.
Apple and honey prayer – “we praise G-d, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the tree.”
The apple is then dipped into the honey, for a New Year that is sweet.
The pomegranate’s symbolism lies in the fruit itself, the abundant juicy seeds.
We express our wish for a year filled with as many merits as pomegranate seeds.
Israel is full of mitzvot like the pomegranate is full of seeds.
Rich Hebrew texts and chants, Torah readings with meaning, and the blowing of the shofar,
Rosh Hashanah prayer services are a spiritual lifter.
Coupled with delicious meals, with foods that are symbolic,
May this New Year be happy, healthy and sweet! Void of the pandemic!
Tishrei 1-2, 5783