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Why do we dip an apple into honey on Rosh Hashanah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » Laws and Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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On a practical level, we take an apple which is sweet (not a green, tart tasting apple) and dip it into sweet honey, as a tangible reflection of our trust and prayers that G-d will grant us all a sweet year.


Why specifically an apple?

There is also symbolism implicit in the apple. Solomon writes, referring to the romance between G-d and the Jewish people, (Song of Songs 8:5), "Beneath the apple tree I aroused you[r love]." On Rosh Hashanah we try to, once again, remind G-d of our mutual love.

Solomon writes, referring to the romance between G-d and the Jewish people: "Beneath the apple tree I aroused you[r love]."
According to Kabbalah the apple is an allusion to the mystical level of "chakal tapuchin kadishin" (the Holy Apple Field).


When Jacob came to receive his father, Isaac's, blessings, he had the scent of an apple orchard upon his clothing. This incident took place on Rosh Hashanah.


Also, when you cut an apple in half horizontally you will see ten little holes and a five pointed star. Ten is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter Yud, and five is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter Hey. Together they spell out G-d's name. Those two letters are also an acronym for the words "Hand of G-d". This reminds us that if we look closely and pay attention we will discover G-d's hand in our life and the world around us.

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Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Solomon
Son of King David, and succeeded him on the throne of Israel in the year 836 BCE. he was the wisest man to ever live. He built the first Holy Temple and authored several books of the Bible.
Song of Songs
One of the 24 books of the Bible, authored by King Solomon. This book, which ostensibly is a love poem, is an analogy meant to depict the love between G-d and His bride, the Jewish Nation.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.