High Holidays in Five Senses
What do the High Holidays smell like?
They smell of freshly-baked sweet challah, the vanilla-y pages of an old book, your grandfather’s aftershave, the tang of the etrog and the perfume of lulav branches.
What do the High Holidays feel like?
They feel like fists beating on chests, shifting your tush on a wooden pew in an unairconditioned sanctuary, running your fingers through the fringes of a tallit, dropping crumbs into the water as you cast your sins away, sticky honey dripping onto your fingers.
What do the High Holidays taste like?
They taste of honey, pomegranates, apples, dates, carrots and squash, sweet challah with raisins, tsimmes and taiglach, shirin polo and khoresh fesenjan, hoppin john and greens.
What do the High Holidays look like?
They look like a room of people wearing their best new outfits, palm branches carefully placed on top of a tiny hut, the entire scroll of the Torah unrolled and encircling everyone, your grandmother’s china hauled out from its secure hiding place and arranged on the table.
What do the High Holidays sound like?
They sound like the blast of the shofar, the crunch of newly-fallen leaves, the mumbles of people stumbling through prayers said sporadically, shouts of “Shana tova!” and hymns at once deeply familiar and utterly foreign.
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