It’s already the Friday before Rosh Hashanah and I’m just now menu planning. Last year, I spent weeks browsing Pinterest for apple recipes, decor and kids crafts. To be honest, our family celebrated Rosh Hashanah a month ago when it was rumored that Israel erroneously added a month to make it a leap year despite the barley harvest being ready. Between some following the solar calendar and others the lunar calendar, really only God knows what day it really is! Interestingly, if you read the rules regarding observing the Passover, in Numbers 9 God allowed Israelites to observe the Passover (called a second Passover) exactly a month later if circumstances prohibited them from being able observe the official Passover the month prior. What a gracious God to recognize that we are only human and though He has set an appointment, such as the Passover, He is willing to delay for our benefit. Perhaps the same will be true for the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). If He delays keeping the Feast it is for our benefit as His desire is for none to perish, but all to come to Him through repentance. So, have you been in a time of repentance? Is the Lord waiting for you to confess that stronghold in your life? If you have been reading Psalm 27 every day, you will have noted that the Lord is to be our stronghold. Often the word “stronghold” is seen in a negative light. It has almost become synonymous with the word addiction and an addiction by definition is anything you keep returning to. Therefore, Psalm 27 remains in perfect context describing the Lord as our stronghold. Our prayer is that you are holding strong to Him and experiencing the blessing of repentance and victory in Jesus.
Rosh Hashanah follows a solomn time of reflection and repentance. It is a 180 shift in emotion met in joyous celebration. Nehemiah concluded the rebuilding the city’s wall with a Rosh Hashanah celebration and encouraged the people to rejoice and delight in what must have been a very promising and happy new year!
On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women, and all who could listen with understanding. Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”
Nehemiah 8:2, 9-10 HCSB
Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah meals are saturated in honey, apples and pomegranates. The sweetness of the food is a symbol of a sweet new year and the joy of the Lord. Honey reminds us of the promised land that flowed with milk and honey. The Israelites had to wait much longer than a year to enjoy the sweetness of a promised land, but once there it certainly did not disappoint.
Pomegranates…oh how I do not like pomegranates! Sorry, but way to much effort for only a miniscule amount of sweet juice. Has anybody ever tried to count the seeds? Even though pomegranates can contain between 200 to 1400 seeds, Jewish legend taught there were 613 seeds representing the 613 mosaic laws…equally as annoying I’m sure. I much prefer going to the store and buying a bottle of Ocean Spray Pomegranate juice! The juice, therefore, could be equated to the age of grace. Jesus fulfilled all 613 laws and now offers the juice of His hard work on the cross to each of us.
So, as you plan your Rosh Hashanah meals, keep these ingredients in mind. We will be enjoying garlic honey crockpot chicken with rice, sweet glazed carrots, pomegranate ginger ale punch, and upside-down apple cake!
~Jenn and John