Shana Tovah: And a (Completely Made-Up) Karaite Tradition

Could One of These be A Blue Thread's Official New Year Brew?Source: *

Could One of These be A Blue Thread’s Official New Year Brew?
Source: *

L’Shanah Tovah, everyone.

As noted in our last few posts, the Jewish New Year begins with the first new moon after the barley in the Land of Israel reaches the stage of development known as Aviv.

Over the past days, several individuals have confirmed that the barley is Aviv, and we have received numerous reports that new moon was sighted in Israel on March 13, 2013. So. . . yeah; Happy New Year.

It occurs to me that we need a fun New Year’s tradition – something similar to the Rabbanite use of “apples and honey” for their Rosh Hashanah. So here is my best shot.

Honey Barley Beer. BOOM.

It makes a ton of sense. The barley plays a critical role in the determination of the new year. Honey represents the sweetness of God’s law. Combine honey and barley into beer, and you’ll truly understand that God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy.

Of course, the main drawback of beer is that people under a certain age are generally prohibited from drinking it. So parents cannot enjoy this tradition with their children. I guess kids are stuck with barley soup. Or honey barley root beer? Well, this “tradition” is clearly a work in progress.

But, in the meantime, if you’re of legal age, perhaps you’ll enjoy some honey barley beer before Passover. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find, since most beer is made with barley.

And if you have any beer recommendations, let me know. Maybe we’ll make one the official New Year Brew of A Blue Thread.

* Neither Draft Magazine nor any of these beers is affiliated with A Blue Thread. Please drink responsibly.


Filed under Aviv, Calendar, Passover

8 Responses to Shana Tovah: And a (Completely Made-Up) Karaite Tradition

  1. maurice

    To begin, the expressions on people’s faces when we say ” ‘Shanah Tovah ” would be funny enough before we tell them why we say that. Karaism will spread if we follow this simple advice. What’s right is right. But, we shouldn’t be focused on alcohol so much. Kiddush does not mention wine. Wine is discouraged throughout the Bible. I’m not aware of beer being mentioned at all. If the children can’t do it, then the family can’t take part. No need for children to be ‘stuck with’ anything. Attitude is everything in religious practice.
    Do we need to be like the nations and have a binge-deprivation cycle to lead up to holidays? I don’t think so. But we can keep talking about it and…ask questions. It sounds like fun. Let’s eat some Grape Nuts.

    • Sha'ul Bentsion

      Maurice, actually the Rabbanites have four new years, this being one of them (calendar calculation differences aside), so it may not be that odd for them after all.

      As for alcohol, it is part of the habits described in the Torah for joyful events:

      “And thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee; and thou shalt eat there before YHWH thy Elohim, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.” (Devarim 14:26)

      Alcohol is not just frowned upon throughout Scripture. Drunkenness is. But I don’t think Shawn had in mind that everyone should get drunk.

      But, to someone like myself who doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, honey-based non-alcoholic drinks still sound great. 🙂

    • I’m with you Shawn. This is also a great tradition to get started because beer is off-limits during Chag Ha’Motzi – thus making this some sort of a Jewish Mardi Gras. Personally, I’ve always been strong supporter of a leaven party before Pesach where everyone brings their beer, best breads, cakes, etc. I’m a carboholic, so this is easy enough for me!

      While the Torah days that drunkenness is deplorable, enjoying wine in moderation is celebrated throughout the Tanakh. All things in moderation!
      “…wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.” – Psalm 104:15

      I believe that drinking falls under the umbrella of “things culture condemns” even more than Scripture does. It’s convenient to shun when really it’s the moderation of the individual which must be examine. After all, alcohol does get you drunk – drinking too much alcohol gets you drunk!

  2. I don’t know about you but a honey sweet barley porridge sounds good as a special treat.

  3. Having a special beer to celebrate a holiday is not exactly a “binge-deprivation cycle”. I think it is a great idea to incorporate the grain associated with the aviv into the holiday. There is not much barley bread available here in the states (or at least my area) but we can sure find honey meads.

    We rejoice in the Chodesh Aviv with the shofar and a special meal, which adding Honey Barley Beer would be a novel addition.
    Thanks, Shawn.

  4. Being that the Rabbanim have four new years, this being one of them, I am not sure they would freak out too much. Those who would freak out, would be people who have attached themselves to ‘Am Yisra’el, but do not know enough about us or Rabbanim, and only think Rosh ha-Shanah is in the Fall.

    Beer would definitely make for a nice tradition, with honey or no honey, and the honey would be a debatable topic, since some Qara’im do not drink honey, believing a product that is formed by an unclean insect, to be unclean. Maple beer though, would right up the alley of these folks, and maple beer is pretty delicious.

    With regards to children drinking beer, most of the world, including the United States, allow for children to drink alcohol, as long as they are in the precense of their parents. This means one beer, or half a beer, under a parent’s supervision is not against the law of the land; therefor, a child could partake in the tradition of beer for the new year also.

  5. Matityahu

    HUB has a 7 Grain stout that is fantastic, so I vote for that!

  6. “On the negative side, there are 17 warnings against abusing alcohol,19 examples of people abusing alcohol, 3 references to selecting leaders, and one verse advocating abstinence if drinking will cause a brother to stumble. Total negative references : 40, or 16 percent. On the positive side, there are 59 references to the commonly accepted practice of drinking wine (and strong drink) with meals, 27 references to the abundance of wine as an example of God’s blessings, 20 references to the loss of wine and strong drink as an example of God’s curse, 25 references to the use of wine in offerings and sacrifices , 9 references to wine being used as a gift, and 5 metaphorical references to wine as a basis for a favorable comparison. Total positive references : 145, or 59 percent.”
    -The Year of Living Biblically
    Yeah alcohal is not looked at poorly in the Tanakh at all, I belive this is a myth brought on by the protestant christian culture we live in. Thanks Shawn love your blog and love this idea I think I’m going try some of these for my own tradition.

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