Thursday, September 21, 2006

honey. child.

I get that the Jewish new year is all about being sweet. I just don't get why the sweet has to be symbolized by apples and honey. The apples are okay. Never did have me a problem with an apple or two. Especially baked by my grandma, with the cores out and brown sugar inside. But I've never been a big fan of honey unless it was in tea.

There are other sweet things. Candy is sweet. Chocolate. Pumpkin Spice lattes. Turkish coffee with sugar and cream. Toffee. Jam. Halvah.

Rosh Hashana always makes me think of when I was a kid. In an orthodox day school. Boys with yarmulke's and sweater vests licking honey from their fingers as they swiped their apples across small Styrofoam plates. Traces of honey stuck in a Rabbi's beard. Honey everywhere - it made me want to run home and shower.

I would dip my apple gently into the pool of honey on my plate - just the tip - ever so carefully. Careful of the sweetness to come in the new year. Careful that it might make a mess or get sticky. Careful I wouldn't like the taste of it.

Just one little dip and a small bite and then I devoured the apples plain. Save the sweetness for the messy.

With Rosh Hashana come the rest of the High Holy days. Sukkot was always fun. It meant field trips to houses of Rabbis and parents. Little rooms built out of two-by-fours with foliage weaved through the ceiling, fruit and paper chains decorating the walls. Sukkot meant eating outside. I liked the idea of the little shack built once a year - but I'm not an outside eater. Not unless I'm dining in Phoenix w/ my brother. Eating outside meant bees. Bees were prevalent with our applesauce and sandwiches.

I liked Yom Kippur the best. The day of atonement. A day of reflection. A day of fast. I still like it. I like wondering if I'll last. A masochist's test to see if I'll deny myself enough for my faith. My attitude towards the holidays are a sad testament to my relentlessness towards myself.

This year my heart jumped when my mother told me a slew of family members would be getting together for the new year. I offered to come with pumpkin bread in tow - and maybe a bottle of merlot. I felt comforted by memories of my grandfather and the idea that I'll spend an evening surrounded by his paintings. Maybe I'll even chase a cup of Turkish coffee with a cup of tea. Maybe I'll throw some honey in there for good measure. Maybe it's the crisp fall air that is changing my attitude this year.

Maybe I'm just in desperate need of sweet.

1 comment:

Buffy said...

I love this post. So warm and inviting.