I’m one of those people that likes to learn and speak a foreign language when I travel to non-English speaking countries. I think its fun and part of the novelty of traveling. Case in point: once I decided to learn some Dutch prior to a trip to the Netherlands. A colleague of mine scoffed saying, “Everyone speaks English in Holland!” which was completely true but it was still fun to try and you should see how the Dutch would light up upon hearing my awful Dutch. I guess foreigners never try to learn Dutch but it makes a connection with people and I think shows some sort of respect.
This is also the way I feel about blessings and Jewish holidays. Can you have a nice dinner with all the symbolic foods and not say a blessing, but I think the blessings make it more fun and are a part of the tradition. My mom and I were talking recently about why we never did any Jewish celebrations growing up and she stated that each year I went over to my grandmother’s house for Passover. I said we never did Passover. She said we did, it’s just that there were no blessings and no Haggadah. But what is Passover without following a Haggadah? It’s just a lamb dinner!
Anyway, there are probably as many ways to bless the Rosh Hashanah evening meal as there are Jewish communities. These are the blessings I say but you should consult your rabbi for the appropriate version for your community. You advanced kids using a bencher can skip this post. ;)
YOU WILL NEED
- Two or more candle holders
- Wine glass for Kiddush
- Challah cover
- Apples and honey
- Shofar (optional)
If you are observing Shabbat, you’ll be very familiar with this blessing. There are just two slight tweaks for Rosh Hashanah. First, you don’t have to cover your eyes and second, the last two words are different.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe Who makes us holy with Your mitzvot and commands us to kindle the lights of the holiday.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.
This blessing gives thanks for enabling us to reach the holiday again. I only say it on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, but some people say it on both days.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, she-hekheyanu v-kiyamanu v-higgianu lazman hazeh.
Lift the cup, but don’t drink yet and say:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha’olam boray pri hagafen.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
It is customary to have a round challah for Rosh Hashanah with something sweet added, like raisins or chocolate. Have it covered with a challah cover or napkin during the previous blessings. Uncover your round challah, hold it up, and say:
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the land.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min haaretz.
Then distribute and take a bite.
APPLES DIPPED IN HONEY
First the blessing for the apple itself:
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech aa-olam, borei p’ri haetz.
And then finally the blessing specifically for the new year:
May it be Your will, Adonai our God, and the God of our ancestors, to favor us with a good and a sweet year.
Y’hi ratzon mil’fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu, velohei avoteinu shet’hadesh aleinu shanah tovah um’tukah.
With all that said and done, it’s time to eat! Afterwards, if you are lucky enough to have a shofar, you can blow it after the dinner. Otherwise, it is still a mitzvah if you hear it in temple.
Dig these cute cards in the photos? They are available in my shop. The kid is not included…unless the price is right. Let’s talk.