SYMBOLIC ROSH HASHANA FOODS
We highlight our meal with symbolic foods: each represents a wish for the New Year.
Dates - Tamar The Hebrew word for 'an end' is similar to the Hebrew word for dates. The blessing asks G-d to bring our enemies to an end. Apples, dipped in honey or sugar, symbolize our wish for a sweet year.
Leek - Kan`l: The Hebrew word for leek is similar to the Hebrew word for cut off. The symbolism is a play on words; in partaking of this food, the blessing states, "May our enemies be cut off."
Swiss chard - Silleh: dark green leafy vegetable with a celery like stem. The word play in this blessing asks, "May our enemies be removed."
Gourd - Urigh: long, green trombone shaped squash. Spaghetti squash may also be used. The Hebrew word for tear sounds like the Hebrew word for gourd. The blessing asks G-d to 'tear up' any evil decrees against us.
Black eyed peas - Rubyeh: The Hebrew word for many is similar to the Hebrew word for black eyed peas. This blessing asks that our merit be as plentiful as the black eyed peas.
Pomegranate - Rimon: This blessing asks G-d to allow our merits to be as plentiful as the pomegranate seeds.
Head - Rosh: The brains, tongue, sweetbreads or any part of the head of an animal. The blessing asks that we, the Jewish people, be at the head and not the tail.
Sugar or honey is substituted for salt at the table during all meals of Rosh Hashana. Sweetness is a theme throughout the holiday. Many families have the custom of not serving any sour dishes. On the second night, a fruit not yet eaten in the season should be added for the blessing of Shehechaynu in Kiddush. Fruits often used are star fruit or figs.