Monday, September 14, 2015

High Holiday Season

The holidays begins this week with Rosh Hashanah followed by Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, and Simchas Torah. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, marks the day that Adam and Eve were created, symbolically 5,776 years ago. It is the day we ask G-d to forgive our sins and write our names in the book of life for the coming year, and ten days later on Yom Kippur that book is sealed for the coming year. It's a holiday filled with symbols of spirituality and with traditions to signify our wishes for the coming year. The most important is the blast of the shofar, subject for the next blog. We eat pomegranates because they, with their many seeds, symbolize fertility, we dip challah and apples in honey to express hope for a sweet coming year.

The Shabbat challah is braided from six strands, to signify the working days of the week. The Rosh Hashanah challah is rounded into a rising swirl. It's difference marks this day as special from all other days. The rising spiral symbolizes our desire to rise upward towards heaven, and the roundness also suggests a crown to celebrate the significance of this holy day.

I had a chance to attend a challah baking class last week to experience people blending and mixing the ingredients to make the sweet egg dough of the challah. It was a mix of people men and women, young and old, all engaging to prepare for the specialness of Rosh Hashanah.