As any mother can attest, getting into the Yom Kippur spirit while we are stuck at home playing boardgames with our kids (not to mention fasting) can be extremely difficult. We are lucky if we get a chance to pick up our machzor, let alone daven, or attend shul. When I need to switch off the Mommy button and get into davening mode, there is one tefillah that will do it for me – “U’Netaneh Tokef” (translation here). The powerful words of this special prayer really help me zero in on the awesomeness of the day, as well as the most important things in life, that we hope to merit in the coming year. The words have always tugged at my soul, but when I learned the story behind the prayer, they became even more meaningful (read it here).
When I ask Hashem to grant me life vs death, to live in harmony vs being harried, to enjoy transquility vs suffering, to be enriched vs impoverished etc…to merit all the positive things vs the negative, I realize that inasmuch as I am asking Hashem for these things, I need to look inside and ask myself, am I doing the same? Am I choosing the positive over the negative?
By nature, I am more of a pessimist, and tend to see the glass half empty. Growing up, I’d wax philosophical and say, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. This is the way the world really is.” But I’ve grown up and matured enough to realize that there is both good and bad in this world. It is up to us how we choose to see it. As it says in Koheles, “Everything has an appointed season and there is a time for every matter under the heaven…A time to kill and a time to heal… A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing….”
For me, it takes an effort to see the good in things, but this year, I am renewing my commitment to look at things in a positive way. Just as I am asking Hashem to look at the good in me, and to bless me with all things good, I must look inside myself and do the same. Seeing the world in a positive light, facing challenges with a positive outlook, and choosing to see the good in people, only serves to enhance my life and the lives of those around me.
This “recipe” (if you can call it a recipe!), is one which my family enjoys each year at the seudah on Erev Yom Kippur. I realize that it, too, is comprised of sweet honey and bitter mustard. While delicious, I will also eat it with a prayer that this year, the good should overpower the bad and that we should all merit to see the “honey” in our lives, and not know of any bitter “mustard”.
Wishing all BIB followers a Gmar Chasimah Tova and an easy fast!
Honey Mustard Salmon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow or spicy mustard
margarine or olive oil, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix honey and mustard in a bowl until incorporated. Rinse fillets and pat dry. My mom likes to pour the honey mustard over the fish and then top each slice with a pat of margarine. I like to avoid margarine at all costs, so if you’d like, you can brush the fillets with olive oil before pouring on the honey-mustard sauce. You can also forgo the margarine or oil altogether, it will still come out great (I’ve done so many times!). Bake for about 15 minutes, until flesh is opaque and flakes with a fork.