Apples, pomegranates, and star fruit are big hits for the Rosh Hashanah season. Rosh Hashanah falls out at a great part of the year where many new fruits have come into season.
Apples are typically enjoyed with a healthy dosing of honey on top. It is said over the blessing of ‘boreh pri ha-etz’ and is eaten during the Rosh Hashanah Yom Tov meals.
There are different interpretations as to why we eat apples over any other fruit. One is that the field in which Isaac blessed Jacob with was actually an apple field. Another opinion is that apples were the most readily accessible fruit for the Jewish people and were always in constant abundance.
The history of the apple begins with creation. By eating the apple on the anniversary of the creation of man, it connects us with our past. It reminds man of his imperfections and that he should strive to reach greatness, which is fitting for the days before Yom Kippur.
Along with fruits there are other foods that are customarily eaten such as carrots or fish. The Yiddish word for carrot is “meren”. It also means to increase. This is symbolic for Rosh Hashanah, because we want to increase in our good deeds for the New Year. We eat fish because of the idea of multiplying as a nation.
The second night of Rosh Hashanah is when the new fruit is introduced. Pomegranates and star fruit are some typical Rosh Hashanah new fruits. The new fruits symbolize continuity and prosperity and are a small celebration of human life that we can eat and enjoy some of G-d’s precious gifts.
It is also customary to substitute your regular braided challah for a round challah This references life and that it is an everlasting circle. There is a custom to have a challah braided in the shape of a crown as a symbol of G-d being the King of kings.