It is nearing the end of the month of אלול (Elul) and ראש השנה (Rosh Hashanah) is fast approaching. We are meant to use this month to reflect on the previous year. The things we have done right. The things we have not done right. The hurt we have caused, intentionally and unintentionally. We are bound to acknowledge our actions and make efforts to seek forgiveness.
For some it is a very difficult month. It is full of sadness and regret. I do feel these emotions but I also feel a great deal of relief and anticipation. The summer is over! We made it through August and a new year is about to begin.
In the שוק (Shuk) אבטיח, מלון וענבים ירוקים (watermelons, melons and green grapes) are quickly being replaced with רימונים, אפרסמונים ותאנים (pomegranates, persimmons and figs). It is a beautiful time of the year.
But for me, it does not have the emotional taste of Rosh Hashanah. The weather is too warm. There are no leaves on the ground and color orange seems to be absent. And I didn't get any new shoes.
When I was growing up Rosh Hashanah was the time that we all got new clothes. We were special. We were excused from school and we all dressed up to go to services. Everyone I knew would be there except my Mother who stayed home and cooked - preparing an incredible meal that would be waiting for us when we came home.
I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that my brothers went under duress, but I loved every minute of it. I felt safe and welcome and protected sitting beside my Father in the Shul. I knew the prayers - at least the tunes - and I I knew the people. The feeling of belonging was palpable.
Sometime between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. the services broke for the holiday meal. Even my brothers who were not happy in the morning, perked up when we all came home. All my relatives would come back to our house, even my Aunt and Uncle who were divorced but got to together on holidays. My Aunt's parents. My Father's boss who always took his cigarettes would show up unexpectedly and then there were the stragglers - the folks who need a place to go. They all came to "fress".
When I moved here I was surprise to hear from so many Israelis that they felt the holidays were a burden and that they preferred to travel or do anything other than spend it together with family. It made me sad and still makes me sad. We too were dysfunctional in our own way, but we did like to eat.
I look forward to Rosh Hashanah. This year there will not be a lot of us but I know we will celebrate together and make phone calls abroad to share the day. The crowned fruit of Canada - Pumpkin - will not be present but I may experiment with persimmon tart for dessert.
I wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year.
שנה טובה ומתוקה