Why is it customary for Rosh Hashanah to make round challos and shape them like a spiraling ladder?
Rosh Hashanah is the day of G-ds 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.
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.
You remind us of the story of Feivish, a distraught young man who rushes in to the rabbis 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, its 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