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Jewish Holiday Haiku -- fun quick explanations of the Jewish Holidays

Updated on November 10, 2014

Let's Have "Fun" with Jewish Holidays.....

There are a lot of Jewish holidays and just about all of them have something involved that makes them hard work before hand. So I wanted to make them all "fun". When I was in grade school, I used to love writing poetry in general and haiku in specific.

I hope you enjoy these attempts at haiku and humor. I'd love it if you would share your own haikus (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables) in the last module "Did you like my haiku?".

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Haiku

Rosh Hashana

Hear the Shofar* blow

Longest Amida* year wide

Go home late and eat.

Yom Kippur

Starts with Kol Nidre*

Fasting lasts throughout the day

Blow Shofar then eat!

* Shofar is a ram's horn (or the horn of any kosher animal) used to toot three different sounds (Tekiya, Shevarim and Teruah on Rosh Hashana and the Shofar is also blown to mark the ending of Yom Kippur

*Amida is one of the names of the main prayer (also called Shmone-esrei, literally 18, for the number of blessings in the original weekday version of the Amida) said 3 times a day on weekdays, 4 times on Shabbat, holidays and Rosh Hodesh -- the beginning of a new month -- and 5 times on Yom Kippur.

*Kol Nidre is Arameic for "All my Vows" and is a prayer said before the actual beginning of Yom Kippur that nullifies all unwanted vows.

For more on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, see my lens called Rosh Hashana

Sukkot Haiku


Build your Sukka* well

Shake your Lulav* and Etrog*

Eat in Sukka 7 days.

* Sukka is a temporary "house" build for the holiday of Sukkot.

* Lulav is a palm frond and Etrog is a citron (a lemon like fruit grown in Israel) -- the two are used on Sukkot (they are shaken together after one makes a blessing)

Read more on Sukkot by reading my lens about the Hebrew month of Tishrei

Hanuka Haiku


Eight days light candles

Chashmonai* victory

Eat Latkes* fried crisp.

*Chashmonai means referring to the Chashmonaim, the family of Yehuda Macabee, who defeated the Greek-Assyrians who were oppressing the Jews of Israel. (For more, see Hanuka)

* Latkes (from Yiddish -- called Livivot in Hebrew) are potato pancakes that are fried (the oil commemorates the Chashmonaim lighting the menora -- candelabra -- in the holy Temple) that are usually eaten with sour cream or apple sauce.

Tu BiShvat Haiku

Tu BiShvat

Israeli's plant trees

To grow fruit for the whole year

We eat lots of fruit.

If you want to learn more about Tu BiShvat, check out my lens about the Hebrew month of Shvat

Purim Haiku


Vashti* lost her head

Mordekhai* would not bow down*

Haman died*, we feast!

*Vashti was the Queen of Persia at the beginning of the Purim story (Esther Chapter 1) -- she wouldn't come when Ahashverosh called for her. The text isn't quite clear what happened to her, but most people feel she was executed.

* Mordekhai was the hero of the Purim story -- he was Esther's cousin (and adopted father).

* He wouldn't bow down to Haman, the grand vizier, who required everyone to bow down to him.

* Haman was hanged in the end for trying to kill Esther's people.

Read more about Esther, Mordekhai and the Purim 'gang' at my lens about Purim

Pesah (Passover) Haiku


Clean your whole house well

Bring out your Pesah dishes *

Eat Matza* all week.

Drink four cups of wine

At the family Seder*

Matza and Marror*.

*Matza is unleavened bread that we eat on Pesah (Passover). We don't eat bread or other leavened flour products. This is why we clean our houses, to get all the Hametz (leavened flour products) out. We also use different dishes and pots and utensils during the holiday week.

* A Seder is a meal during which we read about the Exodus from Egypt. At the Seder, we drink 4 cups of wine, we eat Matza and * Marror (bitter herb which commemorates the bitter life of the Children of Israel under the Egyptian servitude).

Read more about Pesah (Passover) by reading my lens about The Spring Holiday

available at Compugraph Designs' store on Printfection.
available at Compugraph Designs' store on Printfection. | Source

Shavuot Haiku


Mount Sinai was where

We got the Tora* from G-d

Today we eat cheese*.

*Tora is the laws we got from G-d. It's also known as the Bible, the Law, the Pentateuch.

* Because the Tora was given to us on Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks, because we count 7 weeks from Pesah to Shavuot), we didn't know the laws of meat and dairy (which can't be eaten together), so it's a custom to eat dairy on Shavuot.

Read more about Shavuot (The Feast Of Weeks) by reading my lens aboutThe Jewish month Sivan

Fast Days Haiku

Remembering the Destruction of the Holy Temple in Ancient Israel (and remembering Esther, too)

Fast Days

Fast of Gedalia*

Purim Eve for Queen Esther

Tenth Day of Tevet

First Borns fast (they do?)*

The Seventeenth of Tamuz

Tisha B'Av fast days

On these days we fast

Our sadness for lost Temple

(Or good for diet????)

* Gedalia was a leader that Nebuchadnezzar set up as the leader of Israel. When he was assassinated, Nebuchadnezzar decided to exile all the people.

* The day before the beginning of Pesah (Passover) is the fast of the first born, however, if a first born male (females are not required) goes to a Siyyum (a party given when one finishes learning a chapter, section or book of Talmud, Tora (bible) etc.) he doesn't have to fast. Most synagogues have a Siyyum at the synagogue post-prayer breakfast on that day.

Read more about Fast Days by reading my lens about The Jewish month Av

For more information about Jewish Holidays, check out my About the Jewish Calendar lens and link below to lenses about specific holidays.

This design is available as a fabric print on Compugraph Designs' Spoonflower page.
This design is available as a fabric print on Compugraph Designs' Spoonflower page. | Source

I'd love to see yours -- add them here.

If you don't like this lens, please tell me why.....

Did you like my haiku?

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    • crystalwriter profile image

      Crystal A Murray 

      8 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

      I'm amazed you don't have more likes on here. This is a clever teaching tool for the holidays. Even though I was raised as a Christian, I celebrate the Jewish holidays, because I truly believe they are forever holidays. The joy of many of them brings me to tears, and because I believe that if I am truly claiming to have a Jewish Messiah, then the often claimed WWJD would translate to celebrating as He would.

      That said, my favorite Jewish holiday is Sukkot. We build a sukkah in our back yard each year, and we invite people over to teach them about the promises associated with the celebration. Now, can I write a haiku about it? Let's see...

      Open up the roof

      Eat dinner under the stars

      Celebrate the feast


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