Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Break out the honey and apples!

Today, the Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown and ends on Sunday at dusk. This day should hold a particular interest to us as beekeepers since the observance includes the fruit of our labors -- delicious honey. It seems to be a custom that is almost as old as life itself.

In case you're not familiar with it, Rosh Hashanah, literally "head of the year" -- is a Jewish holiday commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the Jewish High Holidays or "Days of Awe" or the Ten Days of Repentance which are days specifically set aside to focus on repenting. It concludes with Yom Kippur. It is the new year for people, animals, and legal contracts.

Rosh Hashanah is observed as a day of rest and certain activities prohibited on Shabbat are also prohibited on Rosh Hashanah. It is characterized by the blowing of the shofar which is a trumpet made from a ram's horn, and is intended to make the listener arise from their slumber and alert them to the coming judgment. During the afternoon of the first day, prayers are recited near natural flowing water so that one's sins are symbolically cast into the water. And many Jews throw bread or pebbles into the water to symbolize the casting off of one's sins.

Of particular interest to beekeepers would be one of the meals during Rosh Hashanah that includes honey and apples -- which symbolizes a sweet new year for those of the Jewish faith. The apple is dipped in honey, the blessing for eating tree fruits is recited, the apple is tasted, and then the apples and honey prayer is recited, "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who creates the fruit of the tree. May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors that you renew for us a good and sweet year. Amen."

L'Shanah Tovah!


  1. Beautiful prayer, Mark. Thanks for sharing.

    In reference to your previous post, I'm actually about 3000' above you. Cashiers is officially at 3486' and I'm about 2 miles north of the Eastern Continental divide at 3700'.

    Your bees do look good. I haven't seen a drone for almost 6 weeks. Most beekeepers in the mountains agree they disappeared right after the sourwood quit blooming. Wonder what the significance is? Bees...they sure do keep you quessing.

  2. How wonderfully appropriate a prayer like that is . . I don`t know that much about the Jewish religion but it has always intrigued me - such very old customs and beliefs - thank you for sharing that with us.

    Your bees look good also !!

  3. Love the message on your blog. After all He did call it the land of milk and honey, so a feast involving apples and honey is only fitting :)

  4. Hey Lynn and Ngaio and Barbara! Good to hear from all of you. I'm glad you liked the post and I think the prayer says a lot! And thanks for the kudos on the bee pictures. I have to admit that I'm very proud of the girls and their hard work. :)



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