One week from today we celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana). As usual, along with seasonal greetings for a good and sweet year (Shana Tova Umetuka), we pass round some amusing or entertaining animation or youtube clip that has taken our (collective) fancy. One of this year's offerings has particularly captured the imagination and has had over half a million hits so far. So of course, as I hum the tune whilst walking along the road, cleaning the kitchen, etc... I can't just enjoy it as a bit of amusing frippery, I have to analyse exactly why I love this video so much - and it's not just the lively music, though that does have a lot to do with it.
Rosh Hashana, like all religious occasions, is laden with symbolism. Not only is it the New Year but also a New Start, a New Leaf, almost a New Beginning. We are supposed to use this time to reflect on our deeds of the past year and repent for any misdoings. We have to ask forgiveness from those we may have offended or hurt, even accidently or unknowingly. We blow, or at least listen to the shofar (a ram's horn) as a reminder to us and to God that he can and does listen to our prayers (i.e. he listened to Abraham's pleas and didn't require him to slaughter his son Isaac - instead giving him a ram to sacrifice.) Actually I just made that explanation up but the shofar certainly sounds impressive and makes you sit up and behave. We wear white to symbolise our working towards a pure soul and we pray that, at the end of the holiday period - in about three weeks time, God will inscribe us in the book of life (i.e. no death this year please). There are also pomegranates and fish - both symbols of fertility (why not?). And of course we all reunite with family and friends for big celebratory meals - obviously.
Dipping the apple in the honey? For a sweet life! I mean, if you're going to survive the year, you want to enjoy it - right?
So The Fountainheads from Ein Prat (click here for background information) recorded this Rosh Hashana message which includes all of the above symbolism - and something else. For me it's another step out of the shtetl. Although we tend to idealise shtetl life and like to think that all our great-great-grandfathers were Tevye the milkman from Fiddler On The Roof, there is a danger in trying to live a modern life simultaneously with an ancient religion. It can pull you back and make you wary of progress. It can alienate people who are looking for relevence in today's society and with today's sensitivities. Dip Your Apple In The Honey is a young, modern, refreshing interpretation of the significance of Rosh Hashana. It makes you want to be a part of it. To share this future with these people. Enjoy!