The Sweetest Apple in the World

Question

Why is there a widespread custom on Rosh Hashana to eat a sweet apple that is dipped in honey?

3 months

Answers

  1. Because it tastes really good!

    (Those of you who are satisfied with this reason may stop reading here.)

    Since we begin a new year on Rosh Hashana it is appropriate to do acts and recite prayers that indicate our sincere desire for this new year to be a “good” one for us. Therefore, there is a custom to take a slice of apple, dip it in honey and eat it. We then say a brief prayer that we should have a good and sweet year.

    The Talmud lists various foods we should eat on Rosh Hashana to symbolically show our “hunger” for a good year. Apple and honey are not mentioned there; rather later generations began the custom of eating them, with Biblical and Kabbalistic sources as a basis.

    Rosh Hashana literally means the “head of the year.” Just as a person’s body follows the lead of the instructions coming from the head, so too the rest of the year “follows the lead” of how we conduct ourselves on the year’s “head.”

    The staff of Gateways and the asktherabbi.org team wish you all a “good and sweet year” — that you should enjoy much happiness and success in all facets of life.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team