It’s not your imagination if you’re thinking what in the world happened to Seeking Shalom. This blog just completely disappeared off the map. To our readers, I apologize for two weeks of silence. I have been struggling with auto-immune issues and trying to stay afloat in my grad school responsibilities and Jay has been busy preaching and helping to care for our family. And in the past two weeks, two major Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have taken place. Here’s how we marked them.
Rosh Hashanah (September 19-20)
Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of the Jewish new year. It is a time of new beginnings. It’s traditional to serve apples and honey to celebrate the sweetness of the new year.
For our family, our kids were out of school for the day, and I was feeling rough. I had a paper due for school and the last thing I wanted to think about was more work to celebrate. And my oldest child made plans to go to the Fair with her friends. I was definitely not feeling festive.
But I had talked to my kids about the fact that we were going to celebrate…so I decided to make at least a little effort. Avaril and I headed off to Wegman’s to buy some food. We found exactly what we were looking for: apples, challah, pomegranates (also traditional), fish, and broccoli (her choice). We also bought a roasted chicken for the non-fish eaters in our house. With our bounty in hand we headed home to prepare a feast (ish). Although originally, I had intended to attempt a honey cake, my energy level was not up to trying a new recipe, so I settle for making an apple crisp. I made oven roasted potatoes, fish (seasoned with garlic and dill, which Jay and Avaril promptly added Old Bay to—what can I say, we’re Maryland folk!), and broccoli. It was fun to tell the kids why the Challah looked different and to explain the round shape was to mark the completion of the year’s cycle. Jay even ate honey on his challah to experience the honey tradition. And we attempted to blow our shofar– it’s a lot more difficult than it looks, and out of everyone in the house, Raegan is the best!
And even though it was not the lavish affair that my Pinterest boards may have lauded, I was certainly glad that we had made the effort to celebrate (at least a little).
Yom Kippur (September 30)
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It is the day of atonement. Adults fast from sundown to sundown and repent of their sins.
I’ll be honest. I worked on 2 projects for my classes that were each 20% of my grade that were due. I spent all day sitting in the office typing and running out to the living room to attend to my youngest daughter, Raegan, who was sick with a fever.
Jay had a budget meeting for our church association in the morning, and then Caed and Avaril had football games in the afternoon.
Holy day of reflective thoughts? Not so much. Did I fast? No, I didn’t. But the beautiful thing about this is, I don’t have to do any of those things to earn approval from God. My redeemer, Jesus Christ, has bought the payment for my sin with his blood. Although, I think it is always appropriate for self-reflection and repentance before the Holy God of Israel (Search me O God and know my heart!), I do not need to do anything more than to place my faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Even though our year of Jewish festivals has gotten off to a less than auspicious beginning, I’m excited about Sukkot which starts this week. Watch for upcoming posts coming on Wednesday!