Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a time to take stock of who we are as Jews. At this time of year we bear in mind that, “G-d created man in his own image, in the image of G-d he created him; male and female he created them”– Genesis 1:27. This verse reminds us that we are endowed with divine qualities. Each and every one of us has inner strengths and attributes that we often take for granted.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said, “Imagine you could open your eyes to see only the good in every person, the positive in every circumstance, and the opportunity in every challenge.”
In addition to ordinary distractions, and as we continue to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are too frequently numb to our special qualities and attributes and lose the ability to see similar qualities in others. This diminution of our vision costs us the gift of the fullness and grandeur of our world.
On Rosh Hashanah, the “birthday of the world,” we celebrate with wine. Why?
Food, like our world, like our aging bodies, is corporeal. Wine, however, is unique. In Judaism, we use wine to transform the profane into something holy, merging the spiritual and physical, the body and soul. With this transformation, wine, more than anything else on the Rosh Hashanah table, is emblematic of Judaism and the Jewish spirit.
This coming year, we should recognize the “G-dly” nature within us, and in others, and appreciate every aspect of our lives. Despite our trials and tribulations, despite the challenges our enemies pose and the threats we face with COVID, both here and in the land of Israel, on the birthday of the world, we remember that we will overcome, everything.
Am Yisrael Chai.
The Rosh Hashanah menu typically includes several dishes, many of which are sweet. Ironically, while people often say they enjoy “dry wines” they often really mean that they prefer “off-dry wines” or “semi-sweet wines” instead of traditionally sweet wines.
As long as the wines that you serve are not too sweet, have appropriate acidity and the flavors are harmoniously balanced it is hard to make a bad choice. There will almost always be something on the table that pairs with, and complements, the wine.
Locally available now are many fine choices for the High Holidays. Here are some wonderful wine suggestions:
- “Yasmin”, white blend, Recanati, Galilee, Israel
- Emerald Riesling, Tishbi, Israel
- Moscato, Mt. Hermon (low alcohol), Israel
- Prosecco, Bartenura, Italy
- Canaan, red blend, Dalton, Galilee, Israel
- Cabernet Syrah, Tishbi, Israel
- Yasmin, red blend, Recanati, Galilee, Israel
- Garnacha (aka “Grenache”), Cordova, Rioja, Spain
- Mt. Hermon Red (red blend), Golan Heights, Israel
Andrew Zashin is a wine collector and writes a monthly law column for the Cleveland Jewish News.