Blessings for Rosh Hashanah symbolic foods

September 20, 2011

Here is the series of blessings, adapted from Chabad.org and in no particular order, that are delivered at the beginning of a Sephardic Rosh Hashanah seder as symbolic foods are eaten. The last three blessings are more general, without any particular wordplay:

Dates. Related to the word “tam” (to end):

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that there come an end to our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us.

Haricots verts or green beans or black-eyed peas. Related to the words “rav” (many) and “lev” (heart):

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that our merits shall increase and that You hearten us.


Swiss Chard Latkes. Tableware from Crate and Barrel. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Leeks. Related to the word “karat” (to cut):

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that our enemies, haters, and those who wish evil upon us shall be cut down.

Swiss chard or beets. Related to the word “sillek” (to depart):

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that our enemies, haters and those who wish evil upon us shall depart.

Gourd or squash. Related to the word “karaa” (to rip apart), and also “kara” (to announce). May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that the evil of our verdicts be ripped, and that our merits be announced before you.

Apples and honey. For a sweet new year

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that You renew for us a year good and sweet like honey.

Pomegranate.

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate [is filled with seeds].

Ram’s head, or the head of another animal or fish,

May it be Your will, Lord our God and the God of our fathers, that we be a head and not a tail.

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