With the approaching Jewish New Year and my son’s obsession with all things nature/animal related, we opted to visit a bee farm. It was the first time I had visited one, and watching the beekeeper in action was fascinating for both of us. Walking away with raw organic honey a definite bonus.

As we watched the process of bee keeping in action, and learned a little more about the sweet buzz, I had an epiphany of sorts. One of those thoughts that comes to you when you’re trying to relax but your mind has other ideas…

Observing the beekeeper, it was easy to see the pride he took in his work as he skillfully moved amid the swarms to feed and tend to his hives. And though he told us of the times he has been attacked, stung, and set off-course, it didn’t stop him from loving and continuing his work. His memories are filled with the sweetness of honeybees – the stings a mere hiccup in the road to that sweet produce.

The parallel was as natural as the honey. Many people focus on the sting in life, often getting stuck there, too. Ironically, in this parallel, the sticky part is not the sting but the honey. What’s meant to and actually does stick is the honey, while the sting is a fleeting and momentary pain. If we focus on it and pay more attention to it than necessary, it will consume us. But, if we focus on the better part of bees and the sweet substance they provide, we’d understand that the sting is just a hiccup in the road. A means to a better end.

We all have our rough periods in life. Some more than others. And while it’s sometimes tough to go on, like a sting, such experiences should only make us stronger. Just as the devoted bee-keeper gets right back in with the hives after an attack here and there, we can’t abandon our passion and goals in life simply because things didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. The sting should never diminish our faith.

I’m no Rabbi and certainly no biblical commentator, but I’m inclined to draw a similar parallel between the use of honey and the Jewish New Year. Most would acknowledge honey on Rosh Hashanah as symbolic that our New Year should be a sweet one. I would take that a little further and suggest that honey can serve to remind us that everything from G-d is good; the obviously sweet things (honey) and seemingly bad (stings). It takes our faith in G-d to see through the stings and believe that, ultimately, there is honey in every bee – good in everything that comes our way.

May it be a happy, healthy and SWEET New Year :-)