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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 9/18/2020

There are three symbols associated with Rosh Hashanah. Everyone knows the first one, the shofar. With a loud blast the shofar announces the beginning of the New Year. It calls us to do t’shuvah, to seek forgiveness from God and from those whom we have harmed.

A second symbol is the round challah we eat at our Yuntiff meals. This shape symbolizes the cyclical nature of Jewish life. After a year of Shabbatot and festivals, we return again to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days of the year. 

There is third, lesser known symbol of the High Holy Days. It is the pomegranate. It is an unusual fruit because instead of eating the flesh and throwing away the seeds, we do the reverse, tasting the seeds while discarding the outside. What does a pomegranate have to do with the High Holy Days? 

Like a pomegranate, we each contain within us multiple seeds. We have seeds of memory of our childhood congregations and family members who are no longer alive. We have implanted within us the hopes and dreams of our parents who wish us to grow to our full potential. We contain seeds of hope that our loved ones will be blessed with health and joy.

On another level, the pomegranate has significance for in Jewish tradition the fruit is believed to contain 613 seeds, representing each of the commandments in the Torah. During the High Holy Days we symbolically return to Torah, seeking to affirm its path of holiness. 

In the new year of 5781, may you hearken to the sound of the shofar, taste the sweetness of the round challah, and be nourished by the seeds of the pomegranate. L’shanah Tovah U’metukah, may you be blessed with a sweet and joyful New Year.


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