Rosh Hashanah Tree of Life Service 5776
I want to tell you all a story about a King named King Rosh. His name was King Rosh because Rosh means (What does rosh mean? . . .head!) and he was the head of alllll the land. He had so much land that he actually had to split it into two separate kingdoms—and he gave one to each of his twin daughters.
One daughter was named Princess Tapuach. (Does anyone know what Tapuach means in Hebrew? Apple!) She was named Tapuach because her kingdom was filled with apple trees. And the princess loved anything and everything to do with apples. She loved strolling in her apple orchard. She loved climbing apple trees. She could even juggle apples. And what do you think was her favorite food? (Apples!) Yes! But not just apples, in this order she loved: apple crisp, apple tart, apple sauce, apple juice, dried apple slices, apple butter, caramel apples, and last but not least, her most favorite food of all—apples dipped in honey. Princess Tapuach looooved being the princess of the kingdom that was filled with apple trees.
Princess Tapuach's sister was named Princess Davash (Does anyone want to take a lucky guess of what Davash means in Hebrew? . . .Honey!) Princess Davash ruled over a kingdom that was filled with honey bees. Now, this may sound dangerous for some, but not for Princess Davash—she always carried an epi-pen everywhere she went—but most of all, she loooved caring for the honey bees. She built them a hive and would watch them work all day, bringing nectar in and out. And when the bees made their honey comb, Princess Davash was the first to taste it . . .because her favorite foods were, in this order: honey cake, honey mixed with yogurt, honey graham crackers, honey mustard, honey nut cheerios, honey butter, tea with honey and last but not least, apples dipped in honey. Princess Davash looooved ruling over her kingdom of honey bees.
The two sisters loved each other very much and they also loved their father, King Rosh. His castle sat in the middle of the two kingdoms and every day, the daughters would visit with their father to share a snack of their favorite food: apples dipped in honey. Over her snack and a cold glass of apple cider, Princess Tapuach said, “I'm so lucky I live next door to your kingdom of honey bees, Princess Davash; without the help of your bees, who transfer pollen from tree to tree, we would not grow enough apples on our trees."
And over her snack and a hot cup of tea with honey, her sister answered, "And I'm so lucky I live next door to your kingdom of apple trees. Without your apples, my bees would have no blossoms. They would not be able to collect enough nectar for their honey."
"And I'm so proud of how well my two daughters share and get along, their father King Rosh chimed in. To thank you, I have a gift for you both—a special song for each of your kingdoms!”
"A song?! Princess Tapuach said. How does mine sound?"
The king told her, "Your song is slow and soft and sounds like the breeze that runs through the leaves of your apple trees: ei, oh, oh, ay." Can everyone sing that? Ei, oh, oh, ei . . .
"Oh, It's perfect for us! Princess Tapuach squealed in delight. “Thank you father!"
"What about mine!!?" Princess Davash interrupted. How does my song sound?
"Well your song," King Rosh said, is fast and short and it dances around just like a honey bee, busy at work: "li li li li li li li li li li li li . . ." Everyone! li li li li li li li li li li li . . .."
"Oh I just love it! Davash said. Thank you for the beautiful song!"
So Princess Tapuach returned to her kingdom humming her new favorite tune, Ei, oh, oh, ei. She taught it to the people of her kingdom and they loved it and sang it too—Ei, oh, oh, ei.
Princess Davash also returned to her kingdom singing with excitement, li li li li li li li li li li li . . ." Her people learned it and sang it as they cared for the bees, li li li li li li li li li li li . . .."
But after a few days of singing, Princess Tapuach screamed! Ahhhh! I CANNOT STAND that honey bee song anymore! When I'm out strolling through my orchards singing my soft and beautiful song to the swaying of the leaves all I can hear is Li! Li! Li coming from the other kingdom! It is SOOO annoying!!!
And while Princess Davash was out taking honey from the hive, she screamed! Uggghhh! I CANNOT LISTEN to that BORING DRONING coming from the other kingdom, ei oh—it's putting my bees to sleep! They need energy! They need inspiration. My kingdom must simply sing our song louder and louder so we don't get disturbed by that other horrible song! Can you sing super loud?? Li, li, li, li. . . .
Princess Tapuach heard the loud singing coming from her sister’s kingdom and said, “Their song is giving us all a headache! We too must sing our pretty tune even louder. Can you help me? Ei, Oh, oh, ei . . .
Both kingdoms were singing so loud, no one could one work, no one could rest, no one could even think. The princesses met over a snack of apples and honey to discuss the situation . . .but it didn’t go so well.
“I AM DONE! Princess Davash told her sister. I’m going to build a wall between our kingdom and yours so we don't have to hear your racket anymore.
Princess Tapuach answered, “That suits us just fine. We'll even help you build it!”
So the sisters and their people built a brick wall between their kingdoms, leaving their father’s castle in the middle. The bees did not fly over to get nectar from the apples. And the apples stopped blossoming because they had no help from the bees; and the sisters no longer met their father for a snack of apples and honey. They did not visit each other's kingdoms. They did not even speak. A year went by and nothing had changed.
King Rosh was so upset and so lonely without visits from his daughters that he decided to take a helicopter and fly over the wall into the Kingdom of Apple Trees. When he got there, he saw very bad things. The people had made posters that said "We Hate Honey" and hung them on the wall. They spoke about how apples were better than honey and how the honey people in the other kingdom were all dumb. Their apple trees were dying, and the rotten apples were giving them stomach aches but they didn't seem to notice. They just sat around, singing their song all day long—ei oh, oh, ei.
"Oy vey!" The King thought. "This is no good." And he flew over the wall to visit the Kingdom of honey bees. That kingdom was not doing any better. There, he saw posters that said "Apples are Gross." The honey people spread mean rumors about the apple people as if they had no feelings. Bees were flying around everywhere with no work to do, and nothing to pollinate. They had even starting stinging people, but no one seemed to care. The people just gathered together and sang their song, li, li, li, li, li . . .
King Rosh went back to his castle feeling sad and responsible. “I can't believe the hatred that exists between my two kingdoms and my two daughters.” He thought. “Don't they understand they need each other?! This is so horrible, "What can be done!!?
King Rosh sat down to think and, suddenly, had an idea. He returned to the kingdom of honey with a mason jar. He poked some holes in the lid and caught a few bees and, without anyone noticing, he brought them over to the Kingdom of Apple Trees. He let them loose and returned home.
A week later, he received an angry visit from Princess Tapuach. "Father, I have come to inform you that our kingdom has an intruder! Honey bees were spotted in the apple orchards today! You must punish my sister for her sneaking around and stealing! She must want our nectar. And just then, there was a knock on the door and Princess Davash burst into her father's home. "Daddy, my bees! Someone from the Apple Kingdom must have stolen them! Suddenly there is nectar in the hives and the bees aren't allowed to fly over the wall. ”What is SHE doing here?” Davash pointed at her sister. "Me?!” Davash was shocked. “You?!” I would never steel your buzzing, stinging bees. How dare you infiltrate my orchards!" She accused.
“I would never send my bees to your withered orchards . . .not if I wanted sweet honey anyway.”
“STOP IT GIRLS!” King Rosh yelled. “Please be quiet and listen to what I have been hearing for the last year.” The daughters stopped speaking and could suddenly hear sounds of singing coming from each kingdom. The songs, one that each daughter loved could not be heard separately but as one song together. Everybody choose a part, and let’s hear them sung together (Rabbi Sara will you help me?):ei, oh, oh ei/li li li li li li . . .
“Do you hear that beautiful harmony my girls? The king said, “the songs were always meant to be sung together. You two need each other for your apples to grow and your honey to blossom. Now sit down and let’s have a snack. And the king served a platter of crisp red apple slices and a big bowl of sweet sticky honey. It was the sweetest dish everyone had tasted all year. The princesses had forgotten how much they loved apples dipped in honey.
“Let this dish be a meal of peace.” King Rosh declared. And so it was. And from now on, wherever apples dipped in honey are eaten, we are reminded that it is our job to work with others, to solve our differences, sing in harmony, and enjoy the sweet taste of peace.