The coming of Rosh Hashana brings with it the promise of a sweet new year and a reminder of the repentance through which we hope to earn its blessings. It is a uniquely Jewish tradition to twin hope with the idea of earning a reason to be hopeful. Honestly facing up to the mistakes and lapses in judgement of the year that has been, while sincerely asking G-d to forgive us for our times at fault, can be difficult, even painful. This is why our customs of family dinners, of fruit and honey, are so important for welcoming in the new year. These gatherings aren’t just excuses for celebration or gathering in sprawling friends and family for a few nights. They give us the spiritual reinforcement to face the worst parts of ourselves and our actions, and pledge to do better, to be better before G-d.
The simple, heartfelt joys of time spent amongst loved ones creates a shared strength to face the following days of repentance, and incentivises us with a reminder of just how good the year to come could be. Fine meals and sweet fruits show us the bounty and good fortune to resolve to be worthy of. The notion of ten days spent truly seeking forgiveness and approval from on high can then take on a less daunting, impossible character, for knowing on a deeper, personal level that we are not alone in doing so. We all hope for a new year even better than the last, we all hope to be taken up by G-d and forgiven for the wrongs we hope this time to right. Most importantly, we all come together as friends, as family and as fellow Jews, creating the support we need to move from the year that has been, into the one that will be.
Great recipe for Sugar Cookies
Source: The Jewish Home Beautiful by Betty D. Greenberg and Althea O. Silverman
2 eggs 2 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup oil 1 tsp. vanilla flavouring
1/4 cup warm water 2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar 4 cups flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon 1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all the ingredients together and knead well. Roll out into a thin sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and run the rolling pin over the sheet again. Cut with a cookie cutter and bake on large cookie tins in a moderate oven (350 degrees) about twenty minutes until delicately brown.