Sep 28, 2011

Be Rude at Rosh Hashanah

In a recent essay in the Albany Times Union, Kar-Ben author Linda Elovitz Marshall writes about the power of words and their ability to create conflict or bring understanding. Marshall’s most recent book Talia and the Rude Vegetables, plays with language as the young protagonist mishears her grandmother ask her to gather root vegetables from the garden for a Rosh Hashanah stew. Marshall writes:

As she digs for the seven vegetables her grandmother requested, Talia ponders what makes a vegetable rude. Does it talk back to its mother and father? Does it push its brothers and sisters around? Talia remembers that she, too, has been rude and that the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah is coming.
Rosh Hashanah is coming, Talia says, I must ask their forgiveness.
As a child, Talia sees clearly what we, adults, often miss. Talia knows she has been wrong and must ask forgiveness. Rosh Hashanah is coming.
As Marshall continues to connect words and deeds in her piece, she emphasizes forgiveness during the Days of Awe, writing: “One might wonder if that is what happened with the children of Abraham. One might wonder if Hagar and Sarah had spoken kindly to each other, cuddled each other's offspring, perhaps there would be more happiness in the world.” Indeed, the connections between thoughts, words and actions is apparent at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Marshall’s assertion that through awareness of rudeness we can arrive at forgiveness is a compelling one.

Read the whole piece.

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