Monday, October 03, 2005

L'Shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts at sunset tonight!

Wishing all of my readers a happy and "sweet" new year in 5766!


Bri said...

Interesting that you would eat sweets on such a solemn holiday. Do Jews usually fast for a time leading up to or shortly after Rosh Hashanah?

ExoticaGypsyGirl said...

Happy and sweet New Year to you too!

Chavarah said...

Ok so now it is the end of Sukkot ... Hag Sameah to you.

Question - have you heard that you should keep the etrog and lulav until Pesach? I just heard that but could not find anything on the net (yet) to substantiate it or to say why or what you do with it on Pesach.

Any ideas?

JewFAQ said...

Regarding the lulav and etrog: once the mitzvah is complete, the objects no longer have any sanctity, so it is permissible to discard them; however, because they have been used to perform a mitzvah, the should be discarded in a respectful way. You wouldn't want them to wind up in a landfill under a pile of used diapers!

It has long been customary to save the lulav until Pesach for use as kindling. In times when people made their own matzah, rabbis suggested using the lulav to fuel the fire for baking matzah. Today, it is more commonly used to fuel the fire for burning chametz before Pesach. But you can also use it to fuel and ordinary fire --after a few months, it makes good kindling.

The etrog can be eaten. The peel is good for any candied citrus peel recipe. There isn't much pulp inside an etrog (ever wonder why it's so light relative to its size? It's all rind!), but the pulp can be used in place of lemon juice in recipes. A few years ago, I tried planting the seeds, and one of them took root -- I now have a 6-foot high etrog tree in my living room! I'll have to post some pictures.

JewFAQ said...

In response to bri: no fasting before Rosh Hashanah, but the day after Rosh Hashanah is an unrelated minor fast -- the Fast of Gedaliah, remembering the assassination of Gedaliah, which was a major event leading up to the destruction of the Temple. And of course, Yom Kippur occurs shortly after Rosh Hashanah (Rosh Hashanah is the 1st and 2nd of the Jewish month of Tishri; Yom Kippur is the 10th).

But Rosh Hashanah, though more solemn than American New Year, is still a joyous holiday. It is conceived of as the annual renewal of the coronation of the Divine as Sovereign of the Universe, and the coronation of a sovereign is always a time for joy. But once the coronation is over, the King settles down to business and metes out justice. That's where Yom Kippur comes into play: the Divine's judgment, and our prayers and repentence to reduce the sentence, if you will. Once justice has been done, it's time for celebration once again, and that's Sukkot! As I write this, it is the last day of Sukkot.

meahsmom said...

I enjoy your site, the information is wonderful. I have a question that I could not find a specific answer to, though. Can you give me the meaning of "sameah"? I have found out that "hag sameah" means "happy holidays," but which is "happy" and which is "holidays"? None of my friends seem to believe me when I tell them that my daughter's name - Sameah - is really a word.

JewFAQ said...

And your daughter's name is... (drumroll please...) HAPPY!

Hag = Festival
Sameah = Joyous, happy, etc.

It's more commonly spelled chag sameach because the "h" in each of the words is the Hebrew letter Chet, which is pronounced like a throat-clearing noise, as in the German "Ach!" or the Scottish "Loch" or Mad Magazine's "Yechhhh!", but it's the same letter that begins the word "Chanukkah," which is often spelled "Hanukkah" (or dozens of other ways...)

How's that for a segue into the next Jewish holiday?

meahsmom said...

Thank You So Much!!! I finally found a human who corroborates what I have been finding in my books!!

My husband and I agreed to drop the "chet" sound in favor of an "Americanized" "ah". I hope that doesn't affect the meaning.

Thank you again, you have found a faithful reader for life.

alan said...

Dear Tracey, I think this is the only way to reach you. I have an exchange trudent coming to live with me in March. She is a 17 year old from Taiwan, is a Buddhist and has absolutely no concept of Judaism, or western religion. She will be with us during Purim and Passover. I need suggestions on how to start giving her some concept of Judaism. All suggestions welcome.