The Apple & The Honey
Dip the apple in the honey Make a Bracha loud and clear, L’shana Tova Umetukah Have a happy sweet new year!
To mark the start of Rosh Hashanah we gather round the table and dip apple slices into honey to symbolically start a sweet new year. While there are references to the Apple in the Torah where did this tradition start?
While the idea of eating symbolic foods dates back to the Talmud, according to Gil Mark’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, “the first recorded association of apples with Rosh Hashanah was in Machzor Vitry, as siddur compiled around 1100, which includ-ed this explanation: ‘The residents of France have the custom to eat on Rosh Hashanah red apple’ Future generations of Ashkenazim adopted the French custom…leading to the most popular and widespread Rosh Hashanah tradition.”
But that is only half of the equation, the first mention of dipping apples in honey occurs in Rabbi Jacob ben Asher’s Arbah Turim (c. 1310). The rabbi, who was born in Germany around 1269 and fled with his family to Spain in 1303, cited the custom as a German tra – dition. This tradition was also confirmed by Rabbi Alexander Sus – slein, a 14th-century Rabbi who mentioned the practice in his Seder Agudah.
ּבָ רּוְך אַ ָּתָ ה יְי,ָ אֱ ֹלהֵ ֽ ינּו מֶ ֽ לֶ ְך הָ עֹולָ ם, ּבֹורֵ א ְּפְ רִ י הָ עֵ ץ.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p’ri ha-eitz. We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the tree.
ָׁשֶ ָּת ְ חַ ֵּדֵ ָׁש עָ לֵ ינּו ָׁשָ נָה טֹובָ ה ּומְ תּוקָ ה. ,יְהִ י רָ צֹון מִ ְּלְ פָ נֶָך, יְיָ אֱ ֹלהֵ ֽ ינּו וֵ אֹלהֵ י אֲ בֹותֵ ֽ ינּו וְ אִ ּמֹותֵ ֽ ינּ
Y’hi ratzon milfanecha, Adonai Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu v’imoteinu, shetchadesh aleinu shanah tovah um’tukah. May it be Your will, Eternal our God, that this be a good and sweet year for us.
Make a Rosh Hashanah Apple & Honey Board
Welcome your guests with this delicious offering:
- Get a flat board or platter for your display.
- Select an assortment of apples in a variety of colors and flavors.
- Slice the apples and spritz or dunk them in lemon juice to slow any browning.
- Purchase a variety of honey. Date honey (Silan), and honeycomb for tasting.
- Add a wooden honey dipper.
- Show off your plating skills!
- Feel free to add nuts, cheeses, or other fruits
The custom of wishing people “Shana Tova Umetukah” (a good and sweet year) dates back to at least the 7th century, it was likely that the sweetener honey was not bee honey but date honey, or Silan as it was much more available.
Rabbi Shlomo Kluger (1783–1869) explains that eating these foods is not so much a prayer as it is an expression of our faith that we will be inscribed for a good, sweet year This in itself, he explains, has the power to transform any negative decree into a posi-tive one.
This year, enjoy the tradition by putting together a variety of apples and honey.