In our second CSA, we pulled out something we’d never seen before. So next time I Skyped with our grandsons, I told them, “We got a mystery vegetable in our box this week! We have no idea what it is.”
Our 4-year-old, puzzled, asked, “Not even Grandpa?”
Well, there’s a world in that answer! Surely, Grandpa knows everything. Even he doesn’t know what it is?
Turned out, it was kohlrabi. And we really liked it.
Discovery in a new fruit
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we can tap into this love children have for discovery and aha moments.
Since it is a tradition to eat a fruit that you haven’t had yet in the end-of-summer/early fall seasons, you can make a journey out of finding something new.
As we described in Planting the Seeds of Jewish Tradition, you can elevate the excitement of the journey by going to a farmers market. But a grocery store is a fine excursion, as well.
Many people choose pomegranates for this tradition, because is said to contain 613 seeds, the exact number of commandments. By eating a pomegranate, then, we show our wish to perform all the mitzvot.
But don’t be limited by the pomegranate. Haven’t had pears yet this year? Or figs? Or cherries? Invite your child to create a platter or bowl or design with your new find. Then he/she can own the ta-da moment when you say the blessing over the new fruit.
Ba-ruch a-tah Ado-nai
E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-olam
borei pri ha-etz.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.
Old crumbs for tashlich
If you are part of a synagogue that holds a tashlich service the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, you can just show up there.
But you can also embrace this tradition your own way.
All you really need is a flowing body of water and some breadcrumbs.
The word “tashlich” is from the Hebrew “to cast,” because we cast away our sins – in the form of bread crumbs — into a flowing body of water.
Anita Diamant suggests taking a bag of sale bread to a duck pond.
“Some families use this time to apologize to one another for the wrongs of the past year and promise to try to be more patient and kinder in the year ahead.” (Living a Jewish Life, p. 157)
I have been to a variety of tashlich services – both self-created and with synagogue groups – where we assembled near a body of moving water, recited poetry, danced the “mayim” (water) dance, and shared what we were going to work harder on next year.
In all cases, we threw our stale bread crumbs (or, once, Dorito crumbs!) into the water and watched them float downstream.
Don’t have a flowing stream near you? Check out this Q&A from aish.com for solutions to that problem.
For a classic service, look at this tashlich service from Beth El Synagogue, Durham, North Carolina that features some lovely poetry.
Have you ever chosen a quince as your new fruit? If so, how did you prepare it? And what’s your favorite part of tashlich?
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