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The Types Of Simanim Eaten On Rosh HaShanah

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - The Types Of Simanim 🍏 🍯

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


What are the different types of Simanim eaten on Rosh HaShanah?


As mentioned in a previous Halacha Moment, Bnei Yisrael have a custom on Rosh HaShanah to eat foods that are symbolic of good fortune for the coming year. [1]

Some of the Simanim include but are not limited to:

a. Rubya —Black-eyed peas or fenugreek (hilbeh). The most common custom is to use black-eyed peas. The rubya symbolizes the many merits that we will accumulate in the coming year. Some people have the custom to eat sesame seeds instead.

b. Kara – A type of gourd (squash or pumpkin). The word kera, with an ayin in place of the alef, can read קרע ,which means to tear.

We pray that Hashem will allow our merits to find favor in His Eyes, and will tear up any evil decree against us.

c. Karti — Leeks. This alludes to karet, the Heavenly punishment of being cut off, and we say that those who hate us should be cut off from us and descimated.

The karti does not have to be eaten, since many people have the custom to refrain from eating sharp foods. [2]

d. Silka — Beets or spinach. This alludes to the word silek, to remove or dispose of. We pray that our enemies (or our sins, according to some opinions) be removed and disposed of.


e. Tamri — Dates. Tamri comes from the word tam, meaning to finish or cease — we pray yitamu oyvenu, that our enemies be consumed and cease to exist. [4]

f. Sweetened apples. The apples are either coated or dipped in sugar, or they are dipped in honey. Eating a sweetened apple alludes to having a sweet upcoming year. [5]

g. Pomegranates. Eating it signifies that our mitzvot should be just as full as a pomegranate is filled with its seeds. The Talmud also says that even the worst among Bnei Yisrael are full of mitzvot like the seeds of a pomegranate. [6]

h. The head of a lamb or sheep. This suggests that we should be like the head and not the tail of the nations in all of our endeavors. If one does not have a sheep or lamb head, he should take a chicken head or a fish head. One should preferably eat a ram or sheep to commemorate the akeidat Yitzchak, which took place on Rosh HaShanah. [7]

Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of The Holidays"


[1]. Keritut 6a; Horayot 12a. See also Torah Lishmah §31.

[2]. Shibbulei HaLeket §283; Avudraham 72a; Moreh BaEtzba §254; Tuv Ayin 40:91; Eliyah Rabbah §2;

Moed LeChol Chai 12:23; Ben Ish Chai, Netzavim 1:5; Kaf HaChayim §6; Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 262.

[3]. Shulchan Aruch 583:1.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 583:1.

[5]. See the Rama 583:1, which brings the custom of eating a sweetened apple. See also Moed LeChol Chai 12:16, which states that one should only dip it in sugar and not honey.

[6]. Berachot 57a; Rama §1. See also Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, p. 97.

[7]. Shulchan Aruch 583:2 and Mishnah Berurah §6. See also Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, p. 98; Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 263, 17; and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 3:2. Ben Ish Chai, Netzavim 1:4 mentions that the head should be cooked, not raw.

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