Rosh Hashanah Seder Booklet

I have created a more substantive Rosh Hashanah seder, which incorporates the Sephardic customs of blessing foods but also adds many of the more known liturgical pieces from the Rosh Hashanah Makhzor, along with contemporary readings that connect to the themes as a way of developing a "service" that can be used virtually. The four names of the holiday are connected to the four cups of wine, and each section concludes with the blowing of the Shofar.  


Introduction

The idea of a Rosh Hashanah seder is not a new innovation. The connection between Rosh Hashanah, foods and blessings has been around since Talmudic times. The first reference is from Nehemiah 8:9–10: “Today is holy to the Lord your God, do not mourn and do not cry … go, eat choice foods and drink sweet drinks and send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our Lord’.”

Rabbi Abaye commented: Now that you have said that an omen is a significant thing, a person should always be accustomed to seeing/eating at the beginning of the year, on Rosh Hashanah, a gourd, green beans, leek, beets and dates. Rashi explains in his commentary to Keritot 6a: “And these foods – some grow quickly and some are sweet.” In other words, we look at things that grow quickly or are sweet as an omen for a good and sweet year and a similar explanation is given by Mahzor Vitry. After bringing some of the customs under discussion, he says: “Everything new and light and good – for a good omen for the entire Jewish people.”

It is told that in the 10th century, when the Babylonian scholar Hai Gaon left the synagogue on Rosh Hashanah, his students would bring him a basket filled with different fruits over which he recited various blessings and biblical verses.

Today’s seder will incorporate these blessings as well as use the paradigm of the Pesakh seder to connect the four cups of wine with the various themes, names and values of Rosh Hashanah.

Candlelighting for Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat:

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת וְשֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzevanu lehadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign over all, Who sanctified us with the commandments and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat and the Yom Tov candles.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’olam shehekheyanu, v’kiyamanu, v’higayanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign over all, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.

1st Cup of Wine: Yom Teruah: The Day of the Horn

Our first cup of wine is connected to the earliest reference found in the Torah, that of Rosh Hashanah being known as Yom Teruah: The Day of the Horn.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:23–25)

In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a sacred occasion: you shall not work at your occupations. You shall observe it as a day when the horn is sounded. (Numbers 29:1)

Kiddush

The commandment to bless this wine is a commandment to drink life as deeply as we drink from this cup.
It is a commandment to bless life and to love deeply.
It is a commandment to laugh until we are all laughter,
To sing until we are all song,
To dance until we are all dance,
To love until we are all love.
This is the wine that God has commanded us to bless and drink. 

—Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

סַבְרִי חברי
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּֽפֶן
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בָּֽחַר בָּֽנוּ מִכָּל־עָם וְרוֹמְמָֽנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וַתִּתֶּן לָֽנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת הַזֶּה ואֶת יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן הַזֶּה יוֹם זִכְרוֹן תְּרוּעָה בְּאַהֲבָה מִקְרָא קֹֽדֶשׁ זכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָֽיִם כִּי בָֽנוּ בָחַֽרְתָּ וְאוֹתָֽנוּ קִדַּֽשְׁתָּ מִכָּל־הָעַמִּים וּדְבָרְךָ אֱמֶת וְקַיָּם לָעַד.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה מֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ מְקַדֵּשׁ הַשַּׁבָּת וְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְיוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, borei peri haGafen.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam asher bakhar banu m'kol am, v'romemanu m'kol lashon v'kidishanu b'mitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahava et Yom HaShabbat ha'zeh v'et)Yom HaZikaron ha'zeh. Yom zichron teruah b'ahava mikra kodesh, zekher le'yitziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vakharta v'otanu kidashtah m'kol ha'amim, u'devarkha emet v'kayam la'ad. Barukh atah Adonai melekh al kol ha'aretz, mekadesh haShabbat v'Yisrael v'Yom HaZikaron.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Creator of the fruit of the vine. Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has chosen us from among all peoples and sanctified us with God's commandments. And You gave us, Lord our God, in love this Sabbath day and this Day of Remembrance. It is a Day of Remembrance a day for recalling with love the sounding of the Shofar, a sacred convocation, a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt. For You chose us and sanctified us from among all peoples, and Your word is truth and endures forever. Blessed are You, Ruler over all the earth, who sanctifies the Sabbath and Israel and the Day of Remembrance.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶּה

Barukh atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh haolam, shehekheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign over all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

We praise God as the One who hears the teruah – the staccato call – of the people Israel. Our collective cries have themselves become a kind of shofar.
שמע קולנו: Shma Koleinu: Hear our voice, Eternal One, our God and accept our prayer with mercy and good will.
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face. (Psalm 89:16)
The Hebrew behind the English translation “festal shout,” is the word teruah. So, this text says that those who know teruah are blessed, or happy.
On this day of Yom Teruah, we should Cry aloud and not hold back, lift up our voices and call an alarm while calling for our community to come together in song and prayer.

הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֨הּ הַֽלְלוּ־אֵ֥ל בְּקָדְשׁ֑וֹ הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בִּרְקִ֥יעַ עֻזּֽוֹ׃
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ בִגְבוּרֹתָ֑יו הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כְּרֹ֣ב גֻּדְלֽוֹ׃
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ בְּתֵ֣קַע שׁוֹפָ֑ר הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּנֵ֣בֶל וְכִנּֽוֹר׃
הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ בְתֹ֣ף וּמָח֑וֹל הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּמִנִּ֥ים וְעוּגָֽב׃
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי־שָׁ֑מַע הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּֽצִלְצְלֵ֥י תְרוּעָֽה׃
כֹּ֣ל הַ֭נְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּ֥ל יָ֗הּ הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃

Hallelyah. Hallelu El Bekodsho Halleluhu Birkia Uzo Helleluhu Bigvurotav Helleluhu Kerov Gudlo.
Halleluhu Beteika Shofar
Halleluhu Beneivel Vechinor. Halleluhu Betoph U'Machol Halleluhu Beminim Veugav. Helleluhu Betziltzilei Shama Halleluhu Betziltzilei Teruah. Kol Haneshamah Tehallel Yah Halleluyah

Hallelujah. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the sky, His stronghold.
Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him for His exceeding greatness.
Praise Him with blasts of the horn; praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with lute and pipe.
Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with loud-clashing cymbals.
Let all that breathes praise the LORD. Hallelujah.

Shofar Blowing

מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָֽאתִי יָה עָנָֽנִי בַּמֶּרְחַב יָהּ

From the narrowness of distress, I called to God; He answered me with the breath of Divine relief.

You have heard my voice; do not shut Your ear.

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וצִוָּֽנוּ לִשְׁמֹֽעַ קוֹל שׁוֹפָר

ְBlessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to hear the sound of the shofar.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּֽה

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.

תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תקיעה
תקיעה תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה גדולה

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah

Tekiah Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah Gedolah

The Date

It is traditional to begin the Rosh Hashanah seder with the general blessing over fruit of the trees, before moving through the various seder foods. Custom recommends that we start with the date, one of the seven species of the Land of Israel. The traditional symbolism of the dates plays on the Hebrew name tamar (date, in Hebrew), which is similar to tam, meaning to end or to extinguish. This siman requests the end of our enemies and those who seek to harm us. Formulated in the positive, it is a request for peace and calm in the year to come.

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-eitz.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the tree.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּתַּמּוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנו

Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu she'yitamu oyveinu v'soneinu v'kol m'vaskshei ra'ateinu.

Traditional translation: May it be Your will, God and the God of our ancestors, that there come an end to our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us.
More positive formulation: May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that enmity will end and this new year will bring peace for us and the entire world.
Food for thought: In what area/toward whom can I practice more compassion? In what ways do I want personal growth?

2nd Cup of Wine: Yom Ha-din: Day of Judgment

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the vine.

The Days of Awe are a magnificent opportunity for us to review the past year, our deeds, misdeeds and missed opportunities. God can and does judge us daily, but we seldom take the time to think about our actions in more than a superficial fashion. Judaism has a term for true self contemplation: heshbon hanefesh — taking an account of one’s soul. Without this act, there is no possibility for change, and change is a central concept of the Days of Awe.
The idea that we, as human beings, are on trial before God is a frightening one. Franz Kafka took this concept to an extreme in his novel The Trial. His hero K., the helpless victim, does not even know what his crime is. Just before he is killed, he puzzles, “Where was the judge whom he had never seen? Where was the High Court, to which he had never penetrated? He raised his hands and spread out all his fingers.”

For us, on the contrary, Rosh Hashanah is no trial before a cruel or unknown judge on arbitrary charges; we have a relationship with God and we know God to be a compassionate and merciful God. Instead of the image of a trial, let us envision it as an opportunity for a summing up of our deeds, an acknowledgment of responsibility for our actions. We do this before God and before ourselves, knowing that the judgment is tempered by compassion, the decree is softened through God acknowledging that as humans we make mistakes, and the pronouncement is allayed by God’s benevolence and grace.

Today we stand before the Mirror of All
To see ourselves as we are.
We come with no gifts, no bribes, no illusions, no excuses.
We stand without defense and wait to be filled.
What will fill us?
Remorse, certainly. So much error and needless pain.
And joy: remembered moments of love and right doing.
We are too complex for single-sided emotions.
And we are too simple to be excused by our complexity.
Let us be bold enough to see,
Humble enough to feel,
Daring enough to turn and
Embrace the way of justice, mercy, and simplicity.      

—Rami M. Shapiro

בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה יִכָּתֵבוּן וּבְיוֹם צוֹם כִּפּוּר יֵחָתֵמוּן

B’rosh hashanah yikateivun u’v’Yom Tzom Kippur yikhateimun.

On Rosh Hashanah their decree is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

The Hasidic master Ze’ev Wolf of Zhitomir taught: On Rosh Hashanah the world is re-created and so all of God’s names are once again drawn into a single unity. On this Day of Judgment it is decided which name of God will descend on each individual that year. Listening to the sound of the shofar, we can each discover which name will descend upon us.

תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תקיעה
תקיעה תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah

Tekiah Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

The Pomegranate

The pomegranate, which ripens in Israel during the season of Rosh Hashanah, has many sweet seeds inside of it. In fact, there is a midrash that states that there are 613 seeds in the pomegranate, symbolizing the 613 mitzvot (commandments). Whether or not this number is entirely accurate, the pomegranate has come to symbolize mitzvot and good deeds.

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-eitz.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the tree.
May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that we be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is full of seeds.

Food for thought: What would you like your life to be filled with this coming year? What acts of kindness do you want to practice in the year to come?

Beets
The Aramaic word salka (beets or beetroot leaf) resembles the word lehistalek, to retreat. In this blessing, we ask that our enemies retreat and that we be freed from those who wish us harm and from the English, that we find a way to live up to the beet that is inside of us.
ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי האדמה
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-adamah.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the ground.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּסְתַּלְּקוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ
Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu, she'yistalku oyveinu v'soneinu v'kol m'vakshei ra'ateinu.

May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that all the enemies who might beat us will retreat, and that we will beat a path to freedom.

May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that we follow our true inner beat and reach our personal goals.

Food for thought: What do I want to leave behind in the new year that’s holding me back?

Carrot

The Hebrew word for "carrot," gezer, is reminiscent of the infinitive ligzor, meaning both to cut and to decree. Therefore, the carrot on the Rosh Hashanah table traditionally carries with it a wish that God judge us with positive decrees.

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-eitz.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the tree.
May it be Your will, Adonai our God, to decree upon us good decrees and favorable judgment.

Food for thought: What do I want to be known for this year? What’s my intention for the year?

3rd Cup of Wine: Yom Hazikaron: Day of Remembrance

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Such is the power of remembering. Memory is the foundation of culture and identity, and our enhanced capacity for memory is what separates us from all other living creatures. Identity is rooted in knowing and remembering our origin and history, whether it be that of an individual, a family, an institution, a country, or even a religion. And identity and meaning are strengthened when we gather and share our stories.

This connection between memory, identity and meaning is the reason we as a people come together on Yom Hazikaron, on this High Holy Day of Remembering. We remember our ancestors, we reconnect to our roots, and we honor the fact that our collective identity today is rooted in a shared heritage and in our relationship with God. As Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.”

While I affirm the wisdom of “living in the present moment” and not getting “stuck in the past,” I also know that we can become “stuck in the present” when we fail to remember how much our present, our identity and our culture are all shaped by our history. Rosh Hashanah – Yom HaZikaron – provides us with the perfect chance to balance both the present and the past.        
(Adapted from an essay by Rev. D. Scott Soner)

What are we affirming about God when we speak of God’s memory? In the biblical pattern, God’s remembering is followed by, or even implies, God’s saving action – for example, God remembers Noah, Sarah and the enslaved Israelites. We can find God in the feeling that we who are adrift, barren or oppressed are not alone, and in the possibility inherent in the universe for a transformed future.           

—Jeremy A. Schwartz

We are part of God’s memory,
Because nothing precious is ever lost in the universe,
And love is more precious than anything.
Love’s promise and love’s fulfillment are never lost.
They always turn up.
They are our inheritance, if we remember.      

—Sheila Peltz Weinberg

Who Are These Jews?
There were women who sat in the market
selling beets and cabbages so their men could study:
They were Jews.
There were men of Yemen, great swordsmen,
guards of the king: they were Jews.
There are dark women of India, wearing saris,
Black farmers from Ethiopia, children with slanted eyes:
All Jews.
There are dressmakers and sculptors, thieves
and philanthropists, scholars and nurses,
beggars and generals.
There are women who follow every rule of Kashrut and
men who know none of the rules, yet all of us are Jews.
Though we are not alike in mind or body,
somewhere in the depths of our souls
we know we are the children of one people.
We share history, a hope, and some prayers:
We speak many languages:
We have heard one Voice:
All of us stood together at Sinai
When our past and our future
Exploded in thunder and flame before us.         

—Ruth Brin

The authentic individual is neither an end nor a beginning but a link between ages, both memory and expectation … to us, recollection is a holy act; we sanctify the present by remembering the past. To us Jews, the essence of faith is memory. To believe is to remember.                

—Abraham Joshua Heschel

Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin asked: “What is the worst thing the Evil Urge can achieve?” And he answered, “To make a person forget that one is the child of a king.”   

—A Hasidic Tale


REMEMBER US FOR LIFE

זכְרֵֽנוּ לְחַיִּים מֶֽלֶךְ חָפֵץ בַּחַיִּים וְכָתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים לְמַעַנְךָ אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים

Zokhreinu lakhayyim, melekh hafetz bakhayyim, ve’khotveinu besefer hakhayyim
lema'ankha Elohim hayyim

Remember us for life, king of desire of life, and write us into the book of life for your sake, God of life.

כִּי זוֹכֵר כָּל הַנִּשְׁכָּחוֹת אַתָּה הוּא מֵעוֹלָם וְאֵין שִׁכְחָה לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶֽךָ וַעֲקֵדַת יִצְחָק לְזַרְעוֹ הַיּוֹם בְּרַחֲמִים תִּזְכּוֹר
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה זוֹכֵר הַבְּרִית

For He Who remembers all forgotten things from eternity, are You, and there is no forgetfulness before the Throne of Your Glory; and the binding of Yitzkhak — on behalf of his descendants — may You remember it today with compassion. Blessed are You Adonai, Who remembers the covenant.

תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תקיעה
תקיעה תרועה תקיעה
תקיעה שברים תרועה תקיעה

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Tekiah

Tekiah Teruah Tekiah

Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah

Leeks/Scallions

Karti — leeks or scallions — resembles the word yikartu: “will be cut off.” The traditional wish associated with this food asks that our enemies be cut off, together with those who seek evil. Jews of Persian descent tear the scallions and throw them over their shoulders, sometimes reciting the actual names of the enemies that they wish to destroy. For a more positive rendition, this siman may be formulated as a request to be blessed with good friends and community.

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי האדמה

Barukh ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-adamah.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the ground.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּכָּרְתוּ אוֹיְבֵינוּ וְשׂוֹנְאֵינוּ וְכָל מְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתֵנוּ

Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu, she'yikartu oyveinu v'soneinu v'kol m'vakshei ra'ateinu.

May it be Your will, God and the God of our ancestors, that our enemies, haters, and those who wish evil upon us shall be cut down.
May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that those who are against us not succeed, and that we be blessed with true, supportive friends and community.

Food for thought: What personal traits or self-sabotaging habits are no longer serving me?

The rubia is one of the symbolic foods mentioned in the Talmud. It is a bean or legume, and usually is interpreted as green string beans. The name is reminiscent of the word yirbu, to increase or to be plentiful. With this siman, we ask that our merits increase and that we be blessed with plenty.

At the same time, the rubia gives us an opportunity to remember and acknowledge those who are less fortunate: for their sakes, we wish that not only will this year be one of prosperity and plenty for us, but also one of giving and sharing with others.

The Libyan version of the siman for prosperity: Rather than rubia, Jews from Libya mix sugar and sesame seeds to symbolize plenty, since the grains are so tiny and numerous that they can’t be counted!

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּרְבּוּ זָכִיּוֹתֵינוּ וּתְלַבְּבֵנו

Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu she'yirbu zakiyoteinu u't'leivavenu.

May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that our merits increase, that we be blessed with everything we need and that we share our blessing with others.

Food for thought: In what area would I like to experience abundance in the year to come?

4th Cup of Wine: Rosh Hashanah: The New Year

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the year. This is an opportunity to dwell in the space of renewal. The tradition teaches there is a cosmic re-writing of your story for the coming year in your bones, sinews, muscles, mind, heart, and being.

So, at this meal celebrating Rosh Hashanah, we have the chance to take part in this powerful time, and also bring awareness to the act of creation. Each moment is a microcosm of who we are becoming. We bless each other and ourselves, celebrating our moments of gratitude. We bring presence and positivity into our hearts, and can get very clear about the truest, most authentic version of ourselves that, we pray, will find expression and aliveness in the coming year. We act as conscious co-creators with The Creator.   

—Emily Stern

The sky is so wide, without boundary.
We try, but gaze
through a narrow lens,
bird’s eye, human eye,
view from the window of a plane.
God, without boundary,
please widen our gaze.
When faced with change,
night into day or
day into night, please
let us meet transition without fear.
Let moments of change lift us into possibility.
Please wrap us
in Your limitless presence.            

—Cathy Cohen

Hayom Harat Olam              הַיּוֹם הֲרַת עוֹלָם

This is the birthday of the world!
Today, all beings of the cosmos listen to the shofar’s call.
Its voice proclaims the world’s repair, through sovereignty of the Almighty One –
a voice that grows in strength as it proceeds.
All we need to do is speak and act, and God will answer us, a voice awesome and holy. 

On this day, the world came into being so we rejoice and welcome the potential that the New Year brings.
On this day the world came into being, so we celebrate our ability to be in relationship and have community.
On this day, the world came into being, so we join together and sing its blessings and praise.
On this day, the world came into being, so we acclaim its beauty and diversity of life.
On this day, the world came into being, and so we thank the Creator for all the gifts given to us: Our Potential, Our Being in community, Our World and All It Has to Offer.

—Andrea M. Gouze

בְּסֵֽפֶר חַיִּים בְּרָכָה וְשָׁלוֹם וּפַרְנָסָה טוֹבָה נִזָּכֵר וְנִכָּתֵב לְפָנֶֽיךָ אֲנַֽחְנוּ וְכָל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים וּלְשָׁלוֹם: וְנֶאֱמַר כִּי בִי יִרְבּוּ יָמֶֽיךָ וְיוֹסִֽיפוּ לְךָ שְׁנוֹת חַיִּים: לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים תִּכְתְּבֵֽנוּ: אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים. כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר הַחַיִּים: כַּכָּתוּב וְאַתֶּם הַדְּבֵקִים בַּיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם חַיִּים כֻּלְּכֶם הַיּוֹם

In the book of life, blessing, peace and abundant maintenance, may we be remembered and inscribed before You; we and all Your people, the House of Yisrael for a good life and peace. And it is said: “Through me, the Torah, shall your days be multiplied, and increased for you will be the years of your life.” For a good life, inscribe us, living God; inscribe us in the Book of Life, as it is written: “And You who cling to Adonai, your God, are all alive today.”

Hayom te’amtzenu הַיּוֹם תְּאַמְּצֵֽנוּ
Hayom tevahenu הַיּוֹם תְּבָרְכֵֽנוּ
Hayom tegadlenu הַיּוֹם תְּגַדְּלֵֽנוּ
Hayom tidreshenu letovah הַיּוֹם תִּדְרְשֵֽׁנוּ לְטוֹבָה
Hayom tikhtevenu lehayyim tovim הַיּוֹם תְּכתבנו לחיים טובים
Hayom tishma shavatenu הַיּוֹם תִּשְׁמַע שַׁוְעָתֵֽנוּ
Hayom tekabel berakhamim u've'ratzon et tefilatenu הַיּוֹם תְּקַבֵּל בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְרָצוֹן אֶת תְּפִלָּתֵֽנוּ
Hayom titmehenu bimin tzidkeha הַיּוֹם תִּתְמְכֵֽנוּ בִּימִין צִדְקֶֽךָ

This day, may You strengthen us.
This day, may You make us prominent.
This day, may You bless us.
This day, may You seek our good
This day, write us down for a good life.
This day, listen to our supplications
This day, accept with compassion and favor, [all] our prayers
This day, support us with the power of Your righteousness.

Avinu Malkeinu, sung by Barbra Streisand: https://youtu.be/4rjYV9NUy40

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ חָנֵּֽנוּ וַעֲנֵֽנוּ כִּי אֵין בָּֽנוּ מַעֲשִׂים עֲשֵׂה עִמָּֽנוּ צְדָקָה וָחֶֽסֶד וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ

Our Father [Parent], our King [Sovereign]! favor us and answer us for we have no accomplishments; deal with us charitably and kindly and deliver us.

Lift up the 4th Cup of Wine:

ברוך אתה ה' אל-הינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam, Borei P’ri Ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Fish

Some communities serve fish on Rosh Hashanah as a symbol of bounty and fertility. If you’d prefer a vegetarian alternative, try fish crackers or fish-shaped gummy candies! They’ll represent the same themes and blessings for the New Year.

ְMay it be Your will, Adonai our God, that we be fertile and multiply like fish.

Food for thought: What practices can I implement to give myself peace of mind, to have more playfulness in the year to come, and to connect to my inner light?

Head of Fish

Many communities serve the head of a fish or a lamb on the Rosh Hashanah seder table (don’t worry—no one said you had to eat it!). Either of these may represent the wish of being like the head in the New Year, and not the tail—a leader, not a straggler.

The lamb’s head also serves as a reminder of the ram that was sacrificed in the story of the Binding of Isaac, which is the Torah portion that is traditionally read on Rosh Hashanah.
Use a head of lettuce, fish crackers or even a head of beer!

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁנִּהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ וְלֹא לְזָנָב

Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu, she'nihiyeh l'rosh v'lo zanav.

May it be Your will, God and the God of our ancestors, that we be a head and not a tail.

Food for thought: Where do I want to lead this year? What leadership skills do I want to improve and what actions can I take to enhance those skills?

The most well-known of the symbolic Rosh Hashanah foods—the apple dipped in honey—is common in Ashkenazic traditions. The Iraqi custom, for comparison’s sake, is to eat a baked apple with sugar, while in Yemen, quinces were served instead of apples. In all variations, these foods represent the wish for a sweet year to come.

The sage the Hafetz Hayyim reminds us that the sweetness should be reflected in our mood, too: Avoid anger, for it is a bad omen for the coming year; rather, we should be sweet of temperament on Rosh Hashanah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam borei pri haetz.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁתְּחַדֵּשׁ עָלֵינוּ שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה כַּדְּבָשׁ

Yehi ratzon milfanekha Adonai eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu, she't'khadesh aleinu shanah tovah u'metukah ka'devash.

May it be Your will, God and the God of our ancestors, that You renew for us a year good and sweet like honey.

Food for thought: What sweetness and blessings do I want?

תקיעה גדולה

The Seder Meal

Blessing over Washing the Hands:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הָ׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם

Barukh Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh Ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadayim.

Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Sovereign over all, Who sanctified us with the commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.

Blessing over the Meal

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam ha’motzi lechem min ha’aretz.

Blessed are You, Adonai, Sovereign over all, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Some Pun-ny Blessings:

Serve a piece of lettuce, half a raisin and a celery stick and put forth the request: “Let us have a raise in our salary!”

When a salad consisting of peas and thyme is placed on the table, say: “May we merit peace in our time!”

Serve salami and bread (lekhem), so we may all have salam aleikum (peace unto you) in the year to come!

Offer your guests punch and (bread) rolls, since we’re hoping for a year in which we roll with the punches.

Serve hearts of palm and recite: “May it be Your will that whoever holds our hearts in the palms of their hands, takes good care of them.”

Bring out the condiments! “May we mustard our strength so that we can find the time to ‘ketchup‘ with family and friends and relish all the little moments in life.”

Beets and squash: “May we ‘beet’ and ‘squash; the fears and prejudices within us.”

“May we always find ‘fava’ in Thine eyes.” (Fava beans and black-eyed pea stew)

“Lettuce say: ‘I yam an advocate for peas and justice, and olive the strength to remain true to my values’."

“May we ‘cherrish’ every date and not rush to ‘fig’-ure out the solution to every question.” (Cherries, dates, figs)

Carob: “This year, may we ‘cara’bout our fellow man and woman more than ever.”

Sources include:
Mahzor Lev Shalem
Kol Haneshama Mahzor
ritualwell.org
Schusterman Family Foundation Rosh Hashanah Seder
Sefardic Rosh Hashanah Seder
Rosh Hashanah Seder Blessings
You Are What You Eat: A Rosh Hashanah Seder

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Complete Ceremony

Found in: Rosh Hashanah

Tags: seder