The Gemora in mesechta Kerisus (6a) states "Abaye said 'Now that
you have said that an omen is significant, at the beginning of each
year, each person should accustom himself to eat gourds, fenugreek,
leeks, beets and dates...'." Because of this Gemora, it is a custom to
eat these listed foods, as well as other foods, which represent good
1) Kara or Gourd - The word "Kara" like
"read/proclaim" and "tear." When we eat the gourd, there
are two possible "Yehi Ratzons" that can be said. The first is "Yehi Ratzon
milfanecha... sheyikaru'u lifanecha zechuyo'seinu", that our zechusim
should be read. The other is"...sheyikora g'zar de'nainu", our bad
decrees should be torn.
2) Rubia or fenugreek or black eyed peas. The word "Rubia" like "yirbu" which means increase. We say a Yehi Ratzon that contains the request "may...our merits increase."
3) Karsi leeks or cabbage, sounds like the word "kares" to cut off/destroy. We say a Yehi Ratzon that asks "may... our enemies be destroyed."
4) Silka or beets, like "siluk," meaning removal. We say a Yehi Ratzon that requests "may our adversaries be removed."
5) Tamri or dates, like "sheyitamu", that they be consumed. So, we say a Yehi Ratzon, may... our enemies be consumed.
6) Honey, because of its sweet taste. We dip Challah and apples in honey. Upon eating the apple and honey, we say a Yehi Ratzon: that "You (should) renew us for a good and sweet year."
7) Pomegranate: "...she'nirbeh zechuyos k'rimon", which has many seeds.
8) Fish: "...She'nif'reh v'nir'beh ki'dagim", may we multiply like fish.
9) For the head of a fish or sheep: "...She'ni'hiyeh l'rosh v'lo l'zanav", may we be a head and not a tail.
10) The Yiddish word "meren" means both carrots and to increase. Carrots symbolize our hope that our merits increase. Yehi ratzon ... sh'yirbu zechuyoseinu.
11) Round challos - the round shape symbolizes a perfect year to
come. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to make it extra sweet.
Submitted by Ratzon. Thank You!