Abigail: Rosh Hashanah

Years ago I discovered the reason why Jews eat challah bread with raisins during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year: in honor of King David’s wife Abigail. I was reading Judith Solomon’s book, The Rosh Hodesh Table: Foods at the New Moon. Lo and behold, I read that it is an Ashkenazi custom to eat the round, raisin-studded bread at Rosh Hashanah because Abigail provided David with 200 loaves of bread and 100 clusters of raisins to dissuade him from killing her foolish first husband and all of the men of the household. As she delivered the provisions to the future king, she requested forgiveness on her husband’s behalf. David then spared the life of her household and ten days later Abigail’s foolish husband died. According to rabbinical commentators, these ten days were a period of repentance just as the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for self-reflection for Jews around the world.

Whether you celebrate Rosh Hashanah or not, enjoy raisin challah this year with a deeper understanding of its symbolism! L’shana Tovah! Happy New Year! Read more…


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