As we ring in Rosh Hashanah this September, we are encouraged to look back on our year and ask God to bless us with more to come. During this holiday, we celebrate the book of life by participating in a seder where we eat 8 different simanim that set the groundwork for dinner. With so much symbolism on the table, the blessings in the meal become intriguing. This year, we chose to spin the traditional Rosh Hashanah menu with our own modern twist. Each ingredient on our menu has deep rooted significance that resonates with tradition far beyond the dining room. Every dish we came up with signifies a very specific request we must make from G-d during this holiday.
1. Carrot Malai - In Hebrew word for carrot, is gezer, which sounds very much like the word g'zar which means “decree”. Eating carrots on Rosh Hashanah signifies our desire that G-d will nullify any negative decrees against us.
2. Colorful Pomegranate Tabbouleh - The pomegranate (“rimon”) is one of the Seven Species of Israel, and a "new fruit" for the Shehecheyanu blessing on Rosh Hashanah. The symbolism here lies within the act, not the name. By eating the pomegranate, we express our desire to receive a year with as many merits as the amount of seeds in a pomegranate. Some Jews even hold that a pomegranate houses 613 seeds, the amount of mitzvot in the Torah.
3. Mahi Mahi with Caramelized Leeks - Like the carrot, the leeks symbolism lies in the name of the food. The word for leek is related to the word kareyt, meaning to cut. This symbol is linked to the prayer that those who wish to hurt us will instead be cut off.
4. Belgian Endive, Orange and Date Salad - The Hebrew word t'marim, evokes the word “tam”, which means "to end,". By eating the dates, we ask God to end our enemies.
5. Combination of yellow and red beet salad - The Hebrew word for beets, selek, is similar to the word for "remove." Similarly to dates, we eat beets to express the desire our enemies will depart.
6. Traditional Moroccan Couscous - By eating gourd on Rosh Hashana we ask God to rip up any evil decree against us and that our merits be announced before Him.
7. Tri-Color Gefilte Fish - Both the body and the head of the fish are symbolic for Rosh Hashana. Fish usually breed in abundance and swim in large schools, so tradition sees the body of the fish as a representation of abundance. With this, we ask God to make our year as fruitful as the fish. The head of the fish (not the tail) swims against the stream, which represents strength instead of weakness.
8. Honey Drip Cauliflower and Apple Curried Soup - For added sweetness we have included our honey drip roasted cauliflower head and a side of sweet and sour soup. This combination is complementary to the traditional custom of apples dip in honey.
WITH THIS DISH, WE ASK GOD TO BLESS US WITH A SWEET AND FRUITFUL NEW YEAR.
9. Exotic Fruits - Finally, we top off our menu with exotic fruits for dessert as we recite the Shechehiyanu blessing on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. Fruit choices go beyond the pomegranate, so we decided to add a flavorful plate that includes dragon fruit, tamarind and kumquat. Other options are; rambutans, soursop, and passion fruit .. go explore the exotic fruit section of the produce department, leave us a comment in the comments section if you have an exotic fruit that we forgot to mention!
May you all have a sweet, happy and healthy new year