Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On the spirituality of the Eruv Tavshilin


There is an unusual technicality associated with Rosh Hashanah this year, connected with the way the two days of Rosh Hashanah lead straight into Shabbat. Cooking is permitted on Yom Tov, but only for food eaten on Yom Tov. In order to cook on Yom Tov for the Shabbat that comes directly after it, you should make an ‘Eruv Tashilin’ – two items of food – one cooked, one baked – are put aside on the eve of Yom Tov and a declaration is made over them. There’s a link with some more information below.


The point is this. On the cusp of the New Year, the Halachic system is already looking forward, beyond Yom Tov – how’s the rest of your year going to work out? There’s a similar idea in the tradition of coming home from Neilah services to bang in the first nail of the Succah before breaking the fast. The problem with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur dominating the religious landscape at this time of year is that these special days cannot be ends in themselves. They are means to other ends – how’s the rest of your year going to work out?


It’s a good question to ponder, alongside all the reflections of the year past. And it also allows me to wave this flag; the Jewish year doesn’t come to an end with First Day Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services. Even if you just can’t make more time to celebrate with us during the working week, come to Maariv services, Thursday and Friday night, and the evenings of Succot in a couple of weeks’ time. If you are not tied to office timetables, please make an extra effort to celebrate with us on the weekday Yom Tov services both this week and, again, over Succot. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a journey that on one count ends with Simhat Torah, but really only ends this time next year. It’s only now that I can understand how my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur last year really worked out. It’s now that I should be asking the question, how is the rest of my year to come – and may it come in peace, healthy and sweetness for us all – going to work out.


Shannah Tovah Tikateivu,

A sweet year to all the New London family, from my family and I,


Rabbi Jeremy


For more on Eruv Tashilin, please see



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