Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rosh HaShana Custom # 98

One of the most pleasing Rosh Hashana customs is the emptying of the mikvot - the ritual baths - of their usual water. The baths are then filled up with honey, and the congregants all shower, cleanse themselves thoroughly, and then immerse themselves in the honey mikve - for a good and sweet new year. As a variation on this, in some Scandanavian communities and in Chinese Jewish communities, congregants then lick the honey of each other, finishing off with slices of apple.
Suddenly just before the Yamim Noraim - the High Holy Days of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur - some unaffilliated Jews suddenly experience an inner urge to be in community, and inquire about coming to a shul:

How much are your tickets for the high holy days?
We have a special on: 365$ and unlimited calls to G-d
I'm on a budget here....can we cut out Yom Kippur. Give me a price just for Rosh HaShanah
But its a package can't have Rosh HaShanah without Yom Kippur
I know but somethings better than nothing
OK we can do that for $290
Its not much of a saving...hows about I promise not to talk during the rabbis sermon
OK we can drop it down to $210 then
Now you're talking sister
And for only $20 you can upgrade to include the brocha afterwards
The brocha's not included?
Sorry, no.
What''s on the menu
Challa, wine, herring, kichel, honey cake
I don't like herring
chopped liver, felafel balls, chumous,,,

We have come up with a new variation of the ancient custom of making a fictitious-sale-of-chametz (leavened grains)-to-a-Gentile-which-is-not-a-sale-cos-we-buy it right-back-after Pesach-but-we-pretend-its-a-sale-anyway. What we do to avoid the considerable financial loss of turfing out our challah, noodles, pasta, phillo pastry and what have you is put them in a plastic bag, tie the ends tightly, and then walk 200 metres to the cliffs overhanging the Pacific Ocean. We label the bag clearly "PROPERTY OF THE SUTTNERS" with a permanent marker, tie a rope around the bag and gently lower in into the ocean. Eight days later we return to that very spot and haul up the rope. OK so the pasta may have been nibbled at and the challah tastes a little briny, but overall the ocean has never let us down.

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