Shlomo Latis wrote “The Collection of Hoshaanot, Songs and Prayers, Annulments of Vows, Tashlichs and Other Things” in Italy around 1790. The name describes the book well; a collection of various prayers and descriptions of Jewish ceremonies that were compiled into one manuscript. A careful look at the one existent copy, however, reveals to interesting food stains.
Typically, when we come across an old manuscript, we assume that stains found on the pages are simply the result of ordinary wear and tear. These, however, were made with HONEY. This is because of the picturesque ceremony of introducing the child to his Jewish studies. Hebrew writing was sometimes covered in honey so that as the child read the words, passing their finger along the line of letters, the honey would be transferred from the page to their fingers. When the child licked their fingers, they were reminded that the Scriptures might be as “sweet as honey.” Another, perhaps more prosaic explanation is that the book was opened to the prayers for the eve of Rosh Hashanah. As the portion of the services which includes the Simanim (symbolism) and the “Yehi Ratzon” (May it Be Your Will) were recited on Rosh Hashanah, some of the honey from the service was spilled. Either way, you get the idea that Apples and honey are a wonderful pairing.
This year during the Battle of Brandywine, several of us were enjoying some mead when the topic of Rosh Hashana came up (Brandywine 2022 was on September 24th and Rosh Hashana began at sundown on September 25th). This was the inspiration for this combination of mead and cider. May it bring you a good and prosperous new year – and if you drink it while reading, you may literally be inscribed in the book.
לשנה טובה תכתבו (L’ shana tova tikateivu)
May you be inscribed for a good year!
- 6 lbs Honey
- 3 gallons Apple Juice
- 2 lbs Brown Sugar
- 3 gallons warm water
Mix all components together and ferment for 90 days with distillers yeast then bottle.