Pesach (פסח) is the Jewish holiday that falls in the spring, usually in late March or early April. It is the holiday that celebrates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The Jews were slaves in Egypt for 210 years. They were forced to build cities for the Egyptian Pharoh (פרעה). The holiday lasts for 7 days in Israel, and 8 outside of Israel. One of the hallmarks of Passover as it is called in English is that bread and other products that are made with yeast are not eaten the whole week. Continue reading “Learning about Pesach”
Purim (פורים) is the Jewish holiday of joy. Everyone is happy (שמח) on Purim! There are many customs (מנהגים) of Purim that are very interesting. This is the one holiday in the Jewish calendar which happened outside Israel in Persia, but it is a beloved holiday by kids and adults alike. Continue reading “Purim”
Chanukah ( חנוכה,) is the holiday that commemorate the re dedication of the Temple (בית המקדש) after the war with the Syrian Greeks. Continue reading “Chanukah”
Rosh Hashana (ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year. In Israel Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday, just like it is all around the world. It is a time of joy, but also of introspection. We look at our deeds from the past year and start the process to begin anew.
In Israel, Rosh Hashana is celebrated by eating special foods. After the Evening Service at the synagogue, the family has a “Seder.” (סדר)
The Kiddush (קידוש) blessing is said on the wine, and the blessing is said over the Challah(חלה) loaf, but instead of putting salt on the Challah, it is dipped(לטבול) in honey (דבש). Each person takes a piece of bread with honey and takes a bite.
Significant Omens for the New Year
There are many foods that are considered good luck omens. Apples(תפוח), fennugreek, or carrots(גזר), leeks or cabbage(כרוב), beets(סלק), dates(תמר), gourd (רוביא), pomegranate(רימון) and fish, and the head of a sheep (כבש) or fish(דג) are the most important foods. Each food has a special blessing said over it by all the people at the table. Some of the omens are positive and some are negative. For apples we wish each other a good and sweet New Year. For the Carrots or fenugreek, we want our merits to increase. Pomegranates are especially good, may our merits be as many as there are seeds in this fruit! The negative omens, beets, leek, and dates, signify that our enemies be decimated, removed, or consumed. The last omen of the Seder is the fish and the head of a sheep or a fish. These signify that we be fruitful and mulitply like fish and the head of the fish, that we should be like the head and not the tail.
Have fun during Rosh Hashana, and remember to eat a bit of each food to savor the special flavor of the Sweet New Year! May you have a Sweet New Year(שנה חדשה) with lots of blessings(ברכות) and new opportunites to learn Hebrew at Live-Hebrew.net!
Vocabulary of Rosh Hashana