For the Jewish New Year, aka Rosh Hashanah(*), we have established a new family tradition. Rather than, as the ancient custom goes, settle for dipping an apple in honey(**) and wish everyone a happy and sweet year, I have asked my family members to each prepare three wishes. Thus we still dunk the fruit of the forbidden tree in the foodstuff stolen from the bees, but in addition to saccharinity, we’ve also added three wishes; first is an aspiration each of us requests for him or herself, second is for the family, and the third is for our community and the world at large.
I thought I’d share my three wishes:
1. For myself I’ve wished finding more balance; my life, at times, can be turbulent, sailing the ocean of my many and varied interests.
2. For my family I’ve asked for more harmony. Things aren’t in particular bad, but more accord can always come handy.
3. And for my community and the world at large I’ve laid a prayer for more sanity. I guess there’s no need to elaborate as to why.
(*) It occurred to me that in the Jewish tradition, the New Year is not called New Year (Shanah Hadashah) as in the Christian way, but rather Head of the Year (Rosh Hashanah.) It is also interesting to note that originally, in the bible, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:1-2). This refers to the Jewish calendar month of Nisan(†), which happens in the Spring. Yet, generations later, the start of the year was changed to the month of Tishrai. The reason for that remains unclear. Just a curious anecdote.
(†) The Japanese brand Nissan is unrelated to the Jewish month of Nisan… The name ‘Nissan’ originated during the 1930s as an abbreviation used on the Tokyo stock market for Nihon Sangyo. No known Jewish connection there…
(**) It seems dipping food is a repeated theme in the Jewish, and more so, Israeli and Middle Eastern culinary; dipping an apple in honey, dipping pita in hummus, tahini, baba-ganoush (cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings,) or tzatziki (a Greek dip made of strained sheep or goat yogurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, and dill or mint or parsley.) No wonder the new year is also celebrated with a dip.
Learned from: a thought process of how to make an old tradition a little more meaningful.