The greeting we exchange during this time of year is Shana Tovah U’Metukah, a sweet New Year! We express our hope and wish for sweetness not only in words but in action as we perform the popular ritual of dipping apples into honey and exchanging Rosh Hashanah cards.
The prevalent custom is to use bee honey rather than date honey. Both are sweet, so why is bee honey preferable? Perhaps the reason is that date honey is simple to produce. It doesn’t take much effort to make date honey. On the other hand, bee honey takes a lot of work. It takes up to 2 million flowers and 556 bees to make one pound of honey. A hive of bees must fly over 55,000 miles, gathering nectar from flowers, to produce a pound of honey – that’s over twice around the world! The average worker honeybee makes about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime.
It is during this season we are reminded that authentic teshuva, repentance, doesn’t happen without effort. Success, happiness and loving relationships take a lot of work and depend on sincere exertion. May all be blessed with the strength and determination to do the work ahead, and may the results be sweet and everlasting! My family joins me in wishing the Atlanta community a happy, healthy, meaningful and sweet New Year.
Rabbi Glusman is the rabbi at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and visiting rabbi at Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus, Ga.