Preparing for Rosh Hashanah is like preparing for that big test. We know what’s coming but it’s so easy to procrastinate.
The month of Elul are the days the Teacher gives the review, but I only sometimes pay attention. Suddenly, I find myself standing still the middle of the month as the countdown to Judgment day begins in earnest.
Planning and preparing festive meals for family and guests is a lot of work: deciding on recipes, shopping, cooking, table setting, serving, table clearing and cleaning up. Doing it again. And again. And again. To complicate things more, we want to go to synagogue if we can and not be distracted by out mental lists of kitchen duties when we need to focus on our prayers.
This line of thinking is fertile ground for the Accuser. He is making his plan of attack just as we are planning our menus. He is focused on tripping us up just as we are focusing on the guest list. He thrills at making us feel burdened and overwhelmed or immersed in creative culinary challenges, so that we have no energy or desire to even think about the purpose of the day.
Ultimately, the Yetzer Hara wants us to be so preoccupied preparing for Rosh Hashanah meals and guests, that we miss out on this great opportunity in Elul to come close to Hashem. To think that we can really get it all done, and appear in shul and daven sincerely, is a recipe for frustration, depression and disconnection. These are the weapons of the Yetzer Hara.
You'll find the rest of this article and so much more in Cooking for the King, winning recipes for Shabbos and yom tov. A book of recipes for living. I hope you'll get your very own copy today. Shana tova, as sweet an healthy new year to you and those you love.