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To Bee or Not To Bee: "Making" Rosh Hashanah

by Mrs. Harriet Schranz


Library » Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » Essays | Subscribe | What is RSS?


David, my oldest, announced one hot day, "Ma, we have to make Rosh Hashanah."

I was, to say the least, mystified. "What do you mean 'make Rosh Hashanah?'" I gasped. "Look, it's already scheduled up on the calendar! Just give it time, and it's going to come on the right day all by itself. What can we do for it? Besides, it's just August now!"

Little did I know that the kid had an agenda longer than some Shul presidents.

"You don't understand, Ma. We have to get into the mood and prepare ourselves. It takes 30 days," he explained.

Well, the only mood I was in recently was crabby. It had been a hot August preceded by a hot July. Camp had ended, and school hadn't begun. It was one hassle after another: do the laundry, do the dishes, chauffeur kids to friends with pools, the cook-shop-clean routine and to mediate those endless sibling squabbles!

"You don't understand, Ma. We have to get into the mood and prepare ourselves. It takes 30 days"
Just try and talk me into any kind of a mood. Besides, I was also preoccupied, for just at that moment a fierce yellowjacket was circling the head of my youngest with what I imagined to be malice in its eye! So I, good Mom to the rescue, removed a shoe, took aim, and promptly broke the window.

Glass shattered and fell haphazardly to a thundering ovation of "Mazel Tov!" by all the kids except for David who was frowning.

Where else but in a Jewish home do you say mazel-tov whenever you break something? I reflected. Just think about it -- one therapeutic mazel-tov takes the guilt out of being a klutz. Think of the savings in analyst fees, I pondered.

Klutziness runs in my family. I am hapless Harriet in my generation, the daughter of Calamity Clara in her generation. One day the poor woman bent down to retrieve a nickel in the grass, and the diamond in her engagement ring fell out of its setting, never to be seen again!

Did this woman, my role model, cry? Did she scream? Wail? Beat her breast in anguish? None of the above! With a mere "A bi-gezunt" she went on with her life. This was a lesson she had learned from her mother of blessed memory. Of course, her mother wasn't always coming up with serene maxims for all occasions.

I vividly remember the time my mother helped out in grandma's kitchen. My well intentioned mom was reaching for a piece of paper from the towel holder, and the whole rack fell off the wall, knocking the toaster off its shelf and into the sink which was full of dirty dishes and dishwater. The toaster had been plugged in and promptly shorted out. The largest dinner plate cracked in two, the entire roll of paper towels got wet and all had to be thrown out.


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Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
(Yiddish) Synagogue.
The 6th month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to August-September. This is the month which precedes Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, and is a month of introspection and repentance.
Language closely related to German commonly spoken by European Jews.