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September 18, 1987 - Image 72

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-18

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Family Bonds

Continued from Page L-1

and traditions that can imbue the
family with a sense of togetherness
and shared experiences.
Tashlich, which is the Hebrew
word for "to send or to throw," is a
custom in which we symbolically
throw away our sins to the unseen
depths of the water. On the second
day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom
Kippur, families go to any body of
water and recite the specific
Tashlich prayers.
Almost everybody knows that
Yom Kippur is the most solemn day
of the year in which we fast and ask
forgiveness for our sins but not as
many people know that on the day
before Yom Kippur, it is a special
mitzvah (good deed) to eat heartily.
Therefore, the custom is to partake
in a lavish family holiday dinner
immediately before going to
synagogue on Yom Kippur Eve. It is
at this meal that the head of the
household (or both parents) places
his/her hands on each of the
children and blesses them with the
age-old blessing for boys, "May
God bless you like our forefathers";
and for girls, "May God bless you
like our mothers, Sarah, Rivka,
Rochel and Leah."
It is also traditional for
members of the family to ask
forgiveness from each other should
they have wronged or hurt each
other in the past year. How can one
go to the synagogue and ask for
forgiveness from God before
forgiving one's family? Similarly, it is
customary to examine all your
relationships with friends, relatives
and associates in the days between
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
and "patch up" any differences.
After Yom Kippur, the holidays
take on a different mood and spirit.

During the Succot holiday the
Torah tells us that we should dwell

i s

Beautiful Customs
Grace High Holiday Period

By RENEE WOHL

Rosh Hashanah, as the
"Machzor" (High Holiday
Prayerbook) tells us, is the birthday
of the world - "Hayom Harat
Haolam." One would think that the
Book of Genesis, which recalls
God's creation, would be read on
this holiday but it is not. In fact, the
Torah reading recited in the
synagogue recalls the birth of Isaac
and the Haftorah is the birth of
Samuel, both stories recount the
birth to barren women - tales of

hope.

Although our liturgy refers to
Rosh Hashanah as the birthday of
the world, there is a tradition that
Rosh Hashanah is not the day the

L 2

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in a succah for the seven-day
holiday.
The reason for the mitzvah of
succah is that we are reminded of
the protection that God gave our
forefathers while we were
developing as a nation in the 40
years that we were wandering in the
desert between Egypt and Israel.
Even today, when we live in the
comfort and security of modern day
housing, it is actually God that gives
us our protection and security, just
as he protects us in our little
insecure succah booths.
If members of your family are
handy, you might try building your
own succah from scratch.
Families who don't have succot
can visit with other friends or
relatives that do. A popular local
phenomenon in the Oak Park and
Southfield areas is when groups of
children get together to visit each
others succot on a holiday
afternoon.
The culmination of the holiday
season is the happiest day of the
Jewish year, Simchat Torah. It marks
the completion of the cycle of the
reading of the Torah in the
synagogue each Shabbat, and the
beginning of the new cycle.
On Simchat Torah all of the
Torahs in the ark are taken out and
the entire congregation joins in the
dancing and celebration. Children
are given flags with Israeli and
Torah themes. It is a great and
joyous time for parents to bring their
children to have a most positive and
happy Jewish experience, one that
they will undoubtedly remember for
a lifetime.
These are just some of the
many ways families can have an
enriched Jewish experience during
this holiday season, and the pages
of L'Chayim can help serve as your
guide.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 18, 1987

world was created. An early
Midrashic souce, Pesikta Rabbati,
states that the world was created on
the 25th of Elul, (the month
preceding Rosh Hashanah). Rosh
Hashanah which falls on the first of
Tishri is then the sixth day of
creation, the day on which humans
were created. According to this
Midrash, the beginning of humanity

is the real beginning of creation.

This Midrash helps us gain insight
and focus on the deeper meaning
of Rosh Hashanah.
The Days of Awe, or as the
cycle is referred to in Hebrew,
"Yamim Noraim," begins in the
month of Elul which precedes Rosh
Hashanah and continues through
Yom Kippur, Day of Judgment. The

Hebrew term "Yanim Noraim" truly
captures the mood of this period.
It is a time of introspection when we
turn away from our past selves to
better ourselves and act differently.
The shofar, the central image
during this holiday period signals us
to change — to engage in the
process of "Teshuvah" (a process
of turning, repentance).
Although the focal point of
Rosh Hashanah observance is in
the synagogue rather than the
home, there are certain customs
which have developed.
One custom which is more than
1,500 years old is dipping apples or
hallah in honey. This custom which
is unique to Rosh Hashanah
expresses the hope that sweetness

will enter our lives and of all Jews.
This practice is done at the
beginning of meals on Rosh
Hashanah and the phrase, "May it
be your will to renew us for a year
that is good and sweet" is recited.
It is also common practice not
to eat sour foods or put salt on the
hallah as is done on Shabbat so
that a sweet taste is left in our
mouths. Honey cake, called
"Lekach" is a traditional food eaten
on Rosh Hashanah. In addition to
being sweet, the Hebrew word
"Lekach" means portion and it is
served with the hope that those who
observe Jewish tradition will be
blessed with a goodly portion.
It is also customary to eat
Continued on Page L-4

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