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Monday, Elul 25, 5780 / September 14, 2020


Rosh Hashana begins Friday night and is celebrated two days; Shabbat and Sunday.


As mentioned previously, Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday even in Israel, where other holidays are celebrated only one day. On the other hand, Yom Kippur is celebrated only one day even in the Diaspora, where other holidays are celebrated two days.


There are beautiful Jewish traditions associated with the holiday of Rosh Hashana. These traditions express various concepts and ideas about the holiday. One of them is to use round shaped Challah. All year long we use long Challah, but for Rosh Hashana we have round shaped Challah.


Unlike Shabbat and other holidays when we dip the Challah in salt, on Rosh Hahsana, after reciting the blessing over the Challah, we dip the Challah in honey.


Q.   What is the reason for the Rosh Hashana Challah being round?


A. On Rosh Hashana we proclaim G-d as King of the universe. The round Challah resembles the shape of a crown, which signifies that on this day we crown G-d as King. 


The round shaped Challah also symbolizes the round shape of the world, reminding us that the entire world is judged on this day.


We dip the Challah in honey, expressing our request and prayer that G-d grant us a SWEET New year.  Although we believe that whatever G-d does is for our good, yet, we pray that He give it to us in a sweet way. In other words, that we can actually see and taste the sweetness and good in it. It should be not hidden good but revealed good.


The following is an important lesson for this time of the year which we can learn from the round Challas. Our sages compared life to a revolving wheel.


Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn said, “Both, those at the top of the wheel of fortune and those at the bottom, often display a lack of wisdom. 


“Those who are at the top of the wheel may glow with self-satisfaction, even exulting at the expense of the less fortunate.  But they would be wiser to realize that the wheel might turn at any moment and they could find themselves lower than those they previously looked down upon!”


“On the other hand, those at the bottom, who bemoan their cruel fate, they too, would be wiser to realize that their fortunes are merely an expression of life's revolving wheel. Although they may be at the bottom of the wheel now, yet, at the wheel's very next turn, their fortunes will begin improving!”