Continued hope and tradition at Rosh Hashanah

By Gavriel Siman-Tov
Community Shaliach

There is no better time in the year for a new beginning than Rosh Hashanah.

As said in the book Exodus 12:1-2:

“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.” 

What God is trying to tell Moses and Aaron is that Rosh Hashanah is the opening of the new year. Rosh Hashanah, is the first day of the first month of the year.

It’s a new beginning for the year to come upon us.

As for me, Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning with you and for you with me, a wonderful beginning whose treasure we will discover throughout our time together.

Rosh Hashanah for me is a holiday of optimism, a holiday with a different feeling in the air, a feeling I would describe as similar to walking down the street and smelling an intoxicating smell of fresh-baked bread but unable to find its source. As we do not know what will hold within the new year.

That desire to find the bakery and taste the bread is like the desire to start this year on the right foot with lots of ambitions and lots of things to fulfill and do.

To start this year with the hope to be able to return to in-person meeting the hope to have fewer COVID cases, to be able to see each other smile and laugh together.

As a kid, and to this day, I have always hated fish. I could not bear the smell to the point I wouldn’t sit at the table if someone was having fish. Well now I can sit at the same table, but still no go for fish.

But every single year again and again on Rosh Hashanah at the holiday meal at my grandparents, I would find the fish head on the table for the blessing that we may be like the head and not the tail, and my mom would take the smallest piece and bring it to me to eat. I would make the sourest face in the world and unwillingly would eat and immediately drink a big glass of Coca-Cola just to get rid of the taste. 

And no matter how disgusting it was for me, I would always eat because it is a blessing, it is a tradition that is important to my grandfather, to my mother and me. It’s part of my history, our history, it’s something we share together, something that we will always have. 

Rosh Hashanah is the opening of a new year as we can learn from the words of God to Moses and Aaron.

A new year that we will discover together as one community, one family and I can’t wait to start it!