Dr Judith Guedalia

We Have To Be Grateful For Many Things

As Rosh HaShana approaches we have to be grateful for many things.   The present ‘intifada' began Erev Rosh HaShana in October 2000, just four years ago.  There are many families mourning day after day for those killed and maimed during these past four years.  It is hard to remember that we should be thankful too!  Of the total 135 ‘successful' attacks, Israel Defense Forces thwarted 406.  At the beginning of the March 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, there were 135 casualties with 17 ‘successful' attacks and 8 thwarted. This past June the IDF managed to stop 22 (twenty two!) murderous terrorist attacks from happening.  In July six attacks were prevented.  August they caught five but unfortunately one terrorist team got by and shot and killed a father of eight. 


I was recently in the States and in Europe and when I told people where I have lived for over thirty years, they asked in puzzlement WHY?

I have written a few articles about what life is like here, but I am not sure that I have emphasized what is right and great about living in Israel.  Ironically, with everything that has gone on here since time immemorial and in the last four years, we feel safe to walk in the streets, a feeling that I did not have ‘outside'.   Even as we experience the ‘westernization-read: Americanization' of our world, we are thrilled that our children are growing up with ‘our' values and not those of ‘goyim'.   I know it sounds hackneyed, but when we pray daily about so many things that relate to the Land of Israel, not the least the return of all of the ‘Chutzies',  we feel pride that we are ‘here' already.  So much so, that I am usually embarrassed by my good fortune at being granted the ability to live here.

Everyone is walking around now wishing Shana Tova to all and sundry, and it is September not December!  By the end of Yom Kippur there will be the constant din of hammering, as yet another Sukka gets put together.  There seem to be a million types of honey on the market, and we know why.  Of course the every present Apple and Honey, joins the Head and Tail of a fish, but do you know that depending on your ‘ethnic' background, the menu for the Rosh HaShana Seder Berachot (blessings) may include quince, leek, black eyed peas, the head of a lamb, beets, to name just a few. 

In our family we add: lettuce, raisins and celery.  Many years ago we hosted a group of Yeshiva students, one of whom, unbeknownst to us and him, would become my brother-in-law.  He watched in awe, befitting the ‘Days of Awe' as food item after food item was passed around, and then Berachot were recited using homophones and rhymes beseeching that our ‘enemies ‘beat/beet for cover'; we mark this ‘date' with sweetness for the coming year; we hope that may ‘we be as replete in mitzvot as the pomegranate'; the coming year be sweet as the date/apple dipped in honey, etc.  My husband always asks guests to come up with their own suggestions for blessings.  This guest said, you should add ‘raisin and celery' to your repertoire, so that the Almighty may ‘let-us have a raise in our salary/celery', and we have done so ever since.

So my recommendation to you all, is that when you look at the ‘fish', its head and tail, you should place it on the left side of the table and add: May we merit to be ‘At the Front' and not ‘Left Behind' (in Chutz La'Aretz) this coming year. 

Shana Tova, Metuka, ve Shekaita, May we all have a good, sweet and quiet New Year.


Tags: Apple and Honey | Beets | Days of Awe | IDF | Intifada | Leek | Living In Israel | Metuka | Rosh HaShana | Shana Tova