With so much energy committed lately to electoral matters, the High Holidays crept up on me. But not so quickly that I wasn’t able to finish a few Tikkunknitting projects on needles since last year. Continuing my knitterly study of Jewish ritual and symbols, I’ve added a shofar and pomegranate to last year’s new year apple.
- The shofar is the principle of Rosh Hashonah. A ram’s horn, it’s sound amplifies the reading of the Aqedah during the holiday, confirming (Abraham’s) commitment to relationship with God (Genesis 22). (Here’s what the shofar call sounds like, at least to Ashkenazim).
- According to (Sephardic) tradition, the pomegranate contains exactly 613 seeds, precisely the number of mitzvot, Biblical obligations traditional Jews seek to fulfill. Even the non-traditional Jew can eat the pomegranate to express the wish that life during the coming year will be filled with as many good deeds as the pomegranate has seeds.
- The round apple represents the hope that the New Year will be joyous from the beginning until it goes full circle. Dipping an apple in honey speaks of the wish for a sweet New Year. (Here’s the traditional prayer for anyone interested).
I’ll add another post on traditions and iconography shortly, but can offer my own responses to the most basic traditional ritual.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leshoma kol shofar. [Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has blessed us in his commandments and commanded us to hear the sound of the shofar.]
I am thankful for the opportunity to study tradition and hear again the sound of the shofar.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, shehechiyanu v’kiyimanu v’higianu la’zman ha’zeh. [Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.]
I am thankful for surviving another year, for the richness of my life, and for the opportunity to re-examine my values, commitments, and actions during this holiday season.
(and without speaking further, here are a few of the daily “100 blasts” of the shofar)