Sunday, July 12, 2020 -
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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 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.

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