Rosh Hashana Seder Guide
The Rosh Hashana evening meal (on both nights) provides a wonderful opportunity for the celebration of traditions and learning. More than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Nehemiah said (in chapter 8, verse 10) “[g]o, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and send portions to him who has nothing ready, for today [Rosh Hashana] is holy to our Lord…” So the starting point is clear–eat well on Rosh Hashana and take action so that others less fortunate may do the same. And although we don’t tend to associate the Rosh Hashana evening meal with a “seder” (literally a set order) other than enjoying apples and honey, the Rabbis directed our attention to specific foods as good omens for the coming year. Members of our congregation Gidon van Emden and Sharon Light developed a sort of “hagadah” to guide the celebration of these good omens at the dinner table. The Rabbis also recommended that we engage in text study–they had in mind the Talmudic tractate Rosh Hashana. But as most of us cannot be present in synagogue during Rosh Hashana, we created study sheets around the key themes from the Rosh Hashana liturgy that you can use during the evening meal on Rosh Hashana. There is a study sheet for each of the three main themes of the Rosh Hashana Musaf Amidah prayer: Malchuyot (Sovereignty), Zichronot (Remembrance), and Shofarot (Ram’s Horn). Each study sheet reproduces the Biblical passages selected by the Rabbis to illustrate these themes, and suggests discussion questions for use at the dinner table.
Editor's note: The study sheets were sourced from Sefaria, a wonderful study tool which unfortunately does not offer gender neutral references to Hashem, a definite preference of the OKC community.