Friday, September 16, 2011

Getting Ready for Rosh Hashannah?

  • 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?

Christian 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.


Sarah A. said...

Menu - kind of. Honey cake dome today. Clothes - enough but not new unless time for shopping. Shul seats - not yet, husbands job! Guests - not yet. Shopping - not yet. Shiurim? Spiritual reflection? Some reading? A little.

I like how laid back younate about all the planning :) goes to show there's no need to stress!

Batya said...

Sarah, one thing I recommend is to get everything cooked/prepared in advance, as if chag was Shabbat. All I make fresh before eating is the green salad. You should be able to doven without any worries. In the modern world of fridges and freezers, we don't have to cook on chag. We shouldn't cook on chag. Our souls need the spiritual refreshment found in prayer.

Sarah A. said...

if only my freezer was bigger! once i make challah there'll be no room left much else in there :)
i prefer not to cook on chat either.

Batya said...

Sarah, you have to decide what's most practical to do. A small freezer and oven make it harder. Think of what you really don't need in the freezer and use it up to make space.