Monday, September 29, 2008

Heads up

Tonight is Rosh Hashanah (literally, the head of the year). On the festive New Year's table, usually on the platter with the traditional gefilte fish, there should be at least one cooked fish head. 
This is to remind us of one of the many blessings that God promises in return for obedience to his commandments. Deuteronomy 28:13a says 
"And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail . . . " 

In The Living Torah translation it becomes "God will make you a leader and never a follower."

The Hebrew blessing said over the fish head is 
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב
May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be a head and not a tail.

I pray that every leader and every citizen in our world will use their head to make peace and not war in the new year. 
Shana tova, a good and happy year to all!


kjpweb said...

Happy New Year to you! May your prayer be heard and answered, and may that happen to ALL nations.
Especially here in the US! ;)
Cheers, Klaus

ichandrae said...

beautiful Dina.
Thankyou for this beautiful New Years greeting from Jerusalem. You make me feel so special to be in touch with the holy land this way.

That is beautiful symbolism to be the leader of your own peace and your own religious life and to set a good example to the children on the planet.

Shana Tova to you Dina.

Kris said...

So tradition insists that you must cook the fish head, but does it say anything about eating the fish head...?

And if so, who gets the eyes?

USelaine said...

A safe, peaceful, and happy new year to you as well, Dina.

Shimmy Mom said...

I pray for peace as well and hope you have a wonderful year!

AVT Coach said...

Shant Tova.(does this mean happy new year?)..and Shalom..happy new year to you. I will be wishing you blessings for your new year. Isn't tradition comforting. To know that the way we do things has also been witnessed by those before us and is an assurance. I appreciate that you have prayed for leaders. We certainly need it here in US as well.

Eki Akhwan said...

Religious texts are always full of symbolism that many - sadly - fail to read in between.

I like this part of your commentary, Dina:

"I pray that every leader and every citizen in our world will use their head to make peace and not war in the new year."

And, I also like the angle you took for that fish head photo. Very photogenic.

Shana tova, to you! (Is it translated as "happy new year"?)

Dina said...

Thanks Klaus. I guess I had in mind mainly the nations that have or will soon have nuclear weapons.

Ichandrae, "the leader of your own peace" you say? I like that!
The post's photo is weird as New Year's cards go. The old fashioned paper ones were all sweet and flowery, with glitter. This year they are having a nostalgic comeback. Better than the mass SMS holiday greetings some send.

Kris! You always put the "penetrating" questions. LOL
Maybe some people pick inside the head and find a bit to eat. Not me! Yuck. Don't like my food looking back at me. I'll pay attention to what happens at the hosts' table tonight.
Hate to tell you this, but a sheep head is also kosher for this tradition. But I can't imagine anyone doing it.
A blogger also just told me that a HEAD of lettuce or cabbage would pass, too.

Thanks dear Elaine and Shimmy Mom!

AVT Coach, shana = year and tova = good (f), so the greeting is Shana tova. Leaders, yeah . . . we should pray that we will get some new leaders worthy of the name.

Eki, thank you. And yes, those fish heads in the market were just crying out to be photographed. Poor things.
Shana tova is "A good year." You make me stop and think: Is a good year necessarily a happy one?
Sort of like a good life is better than an easy life? In any case, Rosh Hashanah is a spiritual type of holiday, joyful but solemn, not at all like the December 31 civil New Year's Eve where people in other countries party and drink.


this is what i cooked today - fish on the barbecue - most healthy meal in my mind

Webradio said...

Cela représente quoi Ta photo ???

Dick said...

Happy New Year, nice picture.

Petrea said...

I suppose I'm the only one who thought of Dr. Demento and "fish heads, fish heads, jolly jolly fish heads..."

Dina, you might remember from your Chicago days, no?

Shana tova. Thank you for all you teach. May our prayers for better leaders come true, and may they bring peace.

Dina said...

M.Kiwi/Maria, yum. Your fish on the grill sure beats our gefilte fish (cooked ground whitefish eaten as cold patties). Did you ever eat it?

Webradio, sometimes a fish head is just a fish head, like these on ice in the market. When it comes home to the Jewish Mother, she makes it into something traditional and symbolic.

A good new year to you too, Dick.

Amen Petrea! But about Dr. Demento, I never knew him. Sounds funny though. I Googled and saw.