Wednesday, February 28, 2024 -
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Heavenly, and then some

Dear Tzviling,

Why is it customary — for Rosh Hashanah — to make round challos and shape them like a spiraling ladder?

Melanie (Denver)

Dear Melanie,

Rosh Hashanah is the day of   G-d’s coronation, when He is crowned as King over us and the entire world. Thus it is appropriate to make round challos, which resembles a crown.

In our prayers, we declare that on this day it is decided “who shall be humbled and who shall be exalted.” Therefore, it is customary to shape the challos as a ladder, alluding to the idea of going down and up.

Dear Tzviling,

I am learning about Rosh Hashanah and the meaning of change. I would like to change, but where do I begin? I get distracted by all the little things in my life.

Bob (Montreal)

Dear Bob,

You remind us of the story of Feivish, a distraught young man who rushes in to the rabbi’s office and begs for help:

“Rabbi you must help me do teshuvah and prepare for the New Year. I need forgiveness for something I did.

Rabbi: You appear quite stressed. This sounds serious. What was it you did?

Feivish: “Oh, Rabbi! I ate a meal and forgot the blessing afterwards.”

Rabbi: Calm down. Get a hold of yourself. This is not the most severe transgression. I can help you. But tell me, why did you neglect to make an after blessing on the food?

Feivish: “Because I forgot to make a blessing before the food as well.”

Rabbi: Oh! Still, it’s not the worst thing. But, just curious, why did you neglect saying the blessing before you ate the food?

Feivish: “Because the food was not kosher.”

Rabbi: Oh! (the plot thickens). And  why, may I ask, were you eating non- kosher food?

Feivish: Oh Rabbi, where am I supposed to find a kosher restaurant open on Yom Kippur?

The key is to take one step at a time.

And the steps will lead you to the heights you seek.

More letters in this week’s IJN print edition. Get your copy by phoning Carol at (303) 861-2234.

SEND your questions to [email protected] to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.

Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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