“Zeh Keli, V’anvehu,” (This is my G-d and I will exalt Him), the Jewish nation sang as they crossed the Yam Suf, the Red Sea, and the miraculous walls of water stood up to offer them passage.
Our Sages tell us that this is the source for the concept of hiddur mitzvah, beautifying the commandments. Throughout the holiday season, the opportunities are plentiful. The Gemara specified (Shabbos 133b) “Make before Him a nice Sukkah, a nice Lulav, a nice Shofar...”
Since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, our Shabbat and yom tov tables are the altars we decorate to honor Hashem. On Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish new year, may the table we set and the honor we give the holiday, open the floodgates of blessing.
“How do you maximize the effect of your holiday flowers? This table has a mirror underneath the centerpieces; the reflection makes it look as if there are flowers all around. Plus, each guest has one single stem in a bud vase to complement the larger bouquets.”
The mirrors can be used as chargers, or line them up down the middle of the table like a table runner. It’s easy to make them on your own. You can find inexpensive picture frames at the dollar store, and mirror inserts at the hardware store. Spray paint the frames the color of your choice, replace the glass with the mirror, secure using a glue gun, and you have the foundation for a beautiful place setting.
Offer your guests individual water bottles. These Tao bottles come in both black and white to match your ensemble.
Elegant L’objet honey dishes may be the top-of-the-line, but you can also present each guest with their own honey sticks.
Apples...pomegranates...fresh, exotic new fruit. “I chose a burgundy red theme because so many symbols of the holiday are red. But whatever color theme you choose, make it your focus. There is beauty in abundance,” says Shavy.
Tags on each dish only require a little effort, but make a big impression
Can’t decide how to serve the simanim? Consider using single-serving mini dishes, often used for taste-testing. Pier One offers a line of very affordable “Tasting Party” porcelain and glassware.
To easily remove the pomegranate seeds, slice the pomegranate in half width-wise. Turn both halves over a plate, cut side down. Knock with the back of a spoon, and all the arils will pop out.
Apple cider can be served in your holiday-worthy pitchers, or load apple cider shooters with cinnamon stick stirrers on a three-tier server. Use glass cubes or wrapped boxes or styrofoam to give different heights to the various items on your table.
Party by Shavy Weiss | Photographs by Esti Photography
Party by Shavy Weiss of Shevy Design 732.966.9607
Black Stemware by Noir Gifts 732.363.3263
This article was originally published in the Rosh Hashanaha 2011 issue of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.