[Avodah] Which foods should one avoid eating on Rosh Hashana?

Prof. L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Wed Sep 1 05:11:55 PDT 2021

>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. Which foods should one avoid eating on Rosh Hashana?

A. Just as we eat sweet apples and other foods on Rosh Hashana because of their symbolic significance, it is customary to avoid bitter and vinegary foods on Rosh Hashana (see, for example, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9).

The Rama (Orach Chaim 583:2) writes that some avoid eating egozim (walnuts) on Rosh Hashana. This is because the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew word “egoz” is the same as the numerical value of the word cheit (sin). Additionally, nuts cause an increase in phlegm which can disturb one’s prayers. Magen Avrohom (583:4) points out that according to the second reason, one should not eat any nut, and not only egozim (walnuts). Be’er Moshe (3:97) writes that ground nuts (other than walnuts) that are part of a recipe do not pose a concern.

It is recorded (Ma’ase Rav 210) that the Vilna Gaon did not eat grapes on Rosh Hashana. Some explain that this is because on Rosh Hashana, Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and according to some opinions in the Gemara the forbidden fruit was the grape. However, Kaf Ha’chaim (583:21) writes that only black grapes need be avoided. He explains the custom of the Vilna Gaon based on the Gemara (Berachos 56b) that black grapes are considered a bad sign.


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