Rosh Hashanah is almost here and we could not be more excited. I know so many of you have already downloaded our Rosh Hashanah cook book to help you plan your healthy menus. But today we are not going to talk about the food you are cooking or the New Year’s Resolutions you are waiting to make. We are going to talk about how you are feeling right now. Whenever an important holiday approaches, we are inundated with examples that make us feel less than adequate. The Facebook posts by all the people who have already completed their holiday baking, the friends who have invited guests for every single meal, and the pressure to create a memorable Jewish Tradition for your family.
How can we set manageable and realistic expectations for ourselves and our families without giving up on what we really want? The key is priorities. We all know the basic traditions, the apples and honey, the new fruits, the new outfit and the only time you can get away wearing white after Labor Day. In terms of hosting guests and being a great guest yourself, you need to think about the stress to you and your family, based on the time of day and the number of invitations you have given and received. Think carefully about your sleep schedules, whose company you truly enjoy and the size of their family. When planning a menu, don’t only consider what will taste delicious, but think about how much time and money you really want to spend and what time of day you are eating.
We often forget that we have different needs after a long holiday davening then we do on an ordinary Shabbat. Once you’ve taken these details into account, I hope you will be able to enjoy the process of hosting and being hosted by your near and dear during the holiday. The other greatest area of undue stress over the holiday is the high sugar content of the food to symbolize the sweet New Year. Often we go from one sweet dish to the next and wonder why we are feeling a little bit edgy and a little bit sick throughout the experience. Remember that just like a little salt in your sweet cake helps to enhance the sweetness, a balance of savory and sweet dishes will help you and your guests feel more satisfied and calmer after your meal. Place as much focus as you can on enjoying your family and friends instead of worrying about the food and you will create a legacy of joy and gratitude without ever needing a New Year’s resolution. I can’t wait to talk to you next year.