- Have you planned your menu?
- Do you have enough nice (new) clothes for the three day weekend?
- (where required) Have you bought tickets so you have a seat in shul?
- Have you invited guests yet?
- Have you started shopping, cooking etc?
Is this all you have to worry about before the High Holidays?
Non-Jewish America has this maybe once or twice a year, Thanksgiving plus any of their own holidays. For a year like this one the food planning is almost like six Thanksgiving meals in three days. That's because Rosh HaShannah will be on Thursday and Friday immediately followed by Shabbat. So a Torah observant Jew can easily get bogged down in all these preparations.
I hate all the obsessive planning, cooking, shopping etc. I'm usually very late in trying to invite people, so we end up with too many solitary meals; though there have been years when we're invited out for many.
Our Shiloh synagogue doesn't "sell seat tickets." As members, we have our assigned seats for the entire year. That's where I sit every Shabbat, or almost every one. Since mine is in the front row, I move back when there's a special event like a Bar Mitzvah. That way the celebrating family can see what's happening down there.
Except for the first night (some people also do it on the second night) of Rosh Hashannah, when you have all of the ritual Yehi Ratzon... May it be
...,* the meals I make aren't very different from a regular Shabbat. I also serve two fish meals, since there's a limit to the amount of meat/poultry one should eat in the span of three days. And, as you can see from the illustrations here, I make a "fruit head" so we can have a healthy and colorful year
Sometimes I wonder if we haven't lost focus on what Rosh Hashannah really is. It's the spiritual new year, Yom Zikaron,
the Day of Memory when we are supposed to begin our accounting of our deeds. G-d is the "CPA
." The real preparation for Rosh HaShannah is supposed to be Teshuva
, Repentance. In addition to the Machzor Prayerbook
course by Reuven Grodner I'm taking this month in Pardess, I'm studying his Rav Soloveitchik on Repentance
. G-d willing, I'll be blogging more about that, whether on this blog or Shiloh Musings
, I'm not sure.
*The number and creativity of these "puns" grows from year to year.