Rosh Hashanah Wrap Up [NSFW]

Some highlights from Rosh Hashanah 5782. I’ll put the NSFW stuff at the end.

The Hard Cider

We arrived at my parents’ house for the Rosh Hashanah meal and learned that Sibling #3 brought an impressive assortment of alcoholic beverages.

Sibling #3: We’ve got [3-4 different kinds of local craft beers], we’ve got hard seltzer, hard apple cider-

Husband: Oh, for the apples and honey! That’s brilliant!

Sibling #3: (a beat) Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking when I bought it.

Also, Mom and Sibling #1 were clearly pregaming.

We started the meal. First is the Kiddush over the wine to sanctify the holiday. Then HaMotzi, the blessing over the challah (bread). Then we started on the appetizers and soup, followed by the main course.

*Dinner conversation completely unrelated to Rosh Hashanah*

Mom (drunk): Ohmigod! I forgot to serve apples and honey!

Sibling #3: It’s okay Mom, we’re good. Drink more cider.

Sibling #1: Yup, It’s basically the same thing, just fermented.

L’chaim! Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

Weird Upside of Rosh Hashanah During COVID #1 – Hotel Breakfast Buffet

We stayed at this hotel near my parents for the holidays last year too. Last year, the hotel served limited, individually wrapped items, like cereal and muffins. An acceptable breakfast, but nothing special. This year, they opened up their full breakfast buffet, including one of those make-your-own-belgian waffle setups.

I keep a kosher kitchen, however, I do not eat exclusively kosher outside of the home. That said, I felt a twinge of “Well, it is Rosh Hashanah. Perhaps I should stick with the cold, individually wrapped, hechshered items to start the new year“. Followed immediately by “But dammit, I want waffles“.

Waffles won. Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Of course, a hotel breakfast buffet is only good if you wake up in time for it. Husband was sleeping late and the breakfast buffet was closing soon.

JYP: Breakfast closes in half an hour. You need to wake up if you want breakfast.

Husband: *mumbles something unintelligible that I believe translates to either “Five more minutes” or “Fuck you, woman, I’m sleeping“*

JYP: Hey, I don’t make the rules here. Look, I got you a muffin! Well, actually, I got you two muffins, but I ate one already.

Husband: *unintelligible mumble that I believe translates to either “Thank you” or “Go away“*

I speak “Sleeping Husband” but I am not fluent. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Weird Upside of Rosh Hashanah During COVID #2 – Reading Torah While Masked

I’ve mentioned before that I read Torah, but I haven’t explained what that entails. The Torah scroll does not have the vowels, musical cantillation marks, or even punctuation, like where the verses end. In order to read from the Torah, you have to study the section you’re reading ahead of time and essentially memorize it, since you won’t have vowels/cantillation/punctuation.

This is what the Torah scroll looks like. You have the consonants, but no vowels, punctuation, or musical cantillation marks. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If you know Hebrew language well, it is less work to learn the Torah reading. Since I don’t know Hebrew language very well, I just have to memorize and recite back. Kind of like a trained parrot.

Self-portrait of me as a Torah Reader. Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

There are always two gabbais present to make sure the Torah reader is reading correctly and not making mistakes. The gabbais can also help if the Torah reader is having trouble. But everyone is happier when they don’t need to do much correction or prompting.

Anyway, I was reading from the Torah scroll, and I reached a word for which I couldn’t remember what the vowel was, because I did not do a good enough job of studying the reading in advance. Luckily, I was wearing a mask, which muffles a lot of sounds. I guessed a vowel sound in between the two vowels I thought it might be, and, since I was muffled by my own mask, the gabbais and congregation thought, “sounds legit“, and I continued the reading as if a mistake had not been made.

Alternate Purposes for a Tallit [slightly NSFW]

Background: A tallit is a four-cornered prayer shawl. At each corner are tzitzit (fringes); this is based on Numbers 15:37-41. It is traditionally worn by men, however, women can and sometimes do wear a tallit in egalitarian communities such as my hometown synagogue.

Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

I’m very egalitarian and I’m all for women wearing tallitot (plural of tallit) if they want to. But it’s not something I do personally. Not for any philosophical reason or anything. It just isn’t something I typically do.

Anyway, 2nd Day of Rosh Hashanah, I got to synagogue, and I realized that the neckline of my dress was considerably lower than I thought it was when I first put it on. Like, no real danger of indecent exposure, but more skin than I would typically feel comfortable showing the congregation. Especially since I’d be on the bimah for another Torah reading, and I just knew that with my luck, the camera livestreaming the service to those attending online will manage to pick up images of my cleavage.

And then I eyed the rack of tallitot and find a solution. It turns out that a tallit, in addition to acting as a ritual prayer object, also does a satisfactory job of hiding this potential wardrobe malfunction. I put on the tallit and I look like a normal shul attendee, and not like someone who does not know how to get dressed in the morning.

I felt weirdly and disproportionately pleased with myself, as if I had just solved one of the great dilemmas facing our time. It’s not as if the Rabbis of the Talmud have dealt with the question of what to do if you find yourself showing too much of your boobs on the bimah, and I have.

Anal Sex and Other Fun Conversations to Have In Front Of Your Parents [very NSFW]

Sibling #2 & Sibling #2-in-law are expecting a baby. Everyone is extremely happy about this. But Sibling #2 was mildly annoyed that they didn’t get to use any of the witty, snappy comebacks they had prepared in case anyone had asked any nosy questions about their family plans, as people were surprisingly well-behaved (for once).

Sibling #2: I had so many good comebacks. Like, ‘Oh, when are you having babies?’ – ‘We’re conceiving one tomorrow night, wanna watch?!’ *snaps fingers*

Sibling #3: [Name of Newly Married Female Friend] is telling people she’ll have babies when [Newly Married Female Friend’s Husband] stops finishing in her butt.

Sibling #1: You know there’s still a slight chance you can get pregnant with anal sex.

JYP: Not with a strap-on.

All, including my parents (shocked): JYP!!!

JYP: That was gonna be my comeback line, but no one’s been rude enough to ask us either.

I’ll end this post with some blessings for the new year (because I can’t really think of how else to follow the anal sex conversation).

May you be sealed for a good year! And may you never livestream your cleavage to the congregation!

I’ll drink to that. L’chaim! Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

26 comments

  1. I have to admit that this was all a bit bewildering to me. A lot of language I didn’t know and a lot of customs I didn’t understand. Why do they take the vowels out? Is it to save space? Add challenge? Codify? That was probably the most bewildering bit. But I liked how you saw the positives in all this stuff. It’s like I my SIL is an essential worker and said how wearing a mask all day has given her a face rash. But, on the other hand, when she gets food stuck between her teeth at lunch without realizing it, nobody can see it when she smiles. PLUS, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your feedback. I realized after I wrote this that there are a lot of things that I didn’t explain well, for example, the fact that Hebrew in other contexts, eg. books, newspapers, signage etc. in Israel is normally shown without the vowels. If you’re fluent in Hebrew, you won’t have issue with reading the words, although you won’t inherently know the musical cantillation marks.

      But I also didn’t do a good job of separating actual religious/cultural reference from funny things that happened over the holiday with my family. Like no one really sees hard cider as a substitute for the traditional apples & honey; it was just a funny conversation at my family’s table.

      I enjoyed writing this post and thinking about the amusing things that happened over Rosh Hashanah. But I’m appreciating now that this post really isn’t accessible to others, and I probably need to rethink it if I want it to be accessible.

      Kudos to your SIL for finding the positives!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Did your husband miss out on the muffin? A nip slip would be embarrassing live streamed while reading the Torah, but might get good ratings. That was a lively conversation a read about a couple who went to the doctor because the woman was not getting pregnant. After many questions from the doctor, she said that it hurt when her husband penetrated her vagina. She found anal sex more comfortable, so that’s how they had been doing it. I don’t remember any mention of a strap in the article.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, this blog post has everything!! Freakin’ awesome! I know nothing of the Jewish faith, but I think it sounds legit to drink hard cider for apples!! [Nods.] I’m on board! And I’m sorry you didn’t get to use your racy comebacks! But you never know!! Sometime in the future, maybe!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m so lucky no one has dared to ask us questions like that yet. I’m sure it’s coming, so I’d better think of some good smart remarks. But I’m a prude and not very quick on my feet, so it’ll be more like, “Oh, well, you know how things go, what happens happens, mumble mumble, so what did you do last weekend?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome to borrow/steal our comebacks, but I can see how that might offend one’s sensibilities. It is a real challenge, when some asks you something so rude and personal, and you want to tell them to go fuck themselves, but in a nice, polite way. Hmmm, I’ll let you know if I think of any suggestions.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Best post I’ve read in ages. You really had me “LMAO,” as the say. Pregaming. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your live-streaming in shul is timely for me b/c my sister’s birthday fell on day two of RH, but I had no idea if she would watch her shul’s service online or go in person. So I actually got online to watch myself (we live in separate states) for the sole purpose of seeing if I could spot her there or not! Comfortable that she was at home, I then texted and asked if it was safe to call her. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d never survive meal conversations with your family! – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you – that is high praise! I should say that we didn’t only talk about wildly inappropriate sexual topics at the table. But that was certainly the most memorable and blog-worthy part of the conversation!
      Happy birthday to your sister! A Day 2 RH birthday is perhaps not ideal, given the long service, though there are worse days in the Jewish Calendar for one’s birthday to fall on. My dad was actually born on Yom Kippur! Not the most fun day to have a birthday on, but at least you get a really nice birthday break fast!

      Liked by 2 people

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