Only Sweet for the New Year
As you will receive this Torah Thoughts right before Rosh Hashana, I thought it would be appropriate to say a word about this holiday, instead of writing about the parasha for the coming Shabbat (Haazinu).
We eat apple dipped in honey to symbolize our wish for a sweet new year. As you may have noticed, we use sweet apples for that purpose. Therefore, we could ask why do we add sweet to the sweet? Wouldn’t it be enough to eat sweet apples alone? Perhaps we hope for a double serving of sweets?
You may answer saying that we wish a sweet and fruitful year, sweet as the honey and fruitful as the apple. Still, why choose a sweet fruit? I once heard a smart answer to this question:
Sometimes, we initially suffer something in life that ultimately brings us some good. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, a person who lost his job is later thankful that he could, as a result, get the job he always wanted. Had he not lost the first job, he wouldn’t have gotten his dream position. I am sure you can think of other good examples. The explanation tells us that the sweet apple is like these kinds of good things that happen to us only after having to suffer some kind of damage. That’s why we dip the apple in honey, because although we value good things even when they come after a bad incident, we would prefer to have “only sweet things” in this new year that is about to begin. We express that we want sweet without any ambiguity— just sweet and double sweet!
Dear members and friends of Temple Beth El, may the year 5778 bring you many good and sweet things. May it be a year of blessings, health and happiness for you and your family. May it be a year of congregational dreams and fruits for our beloved Temple. May it bring peace and prosperity to Medinat Israel. May it bring union and brotherhood to our country.
Shana Tova Umetuka, a good and sweet year!