|The minhag to eat special fruits in Rosh HaShanah is from the Gemara
in Horiyos 12a. While the gemara gives a list of recommended fruits
dipping apples in honey is not mentioned. The earliest source for the
apple in honey is from the Abudraham as quoted by the Rema (OC 583:1).
What is the significance of this famous minhag? The Moadim L'Simcha
brings a number of reasons.
1. The Maharil says that Yitzchok smelled an apple orchard when he
commented on the beautiful smell as Yaakov came in to him to receive
the Brachos. The Vilna Gaon in the Biur HaGra says that this happened
on Rosh HaShanah.
2. The Ben Ish Chai says that apples give three pleasures Smell,
Appearance and Taste which correspond to three Brachos we'd like to
receive for the next year Bini (Chidren and Nachas from Children),
Chayai (Life/Health) and Mezoni (Wealth).
3. The Zohar says that wine symbolizes Din or judgment. Apples are
eaten after strong wine in order not to be harmed by the strength of
the wine. Therefore since Rosh HaShanah is a time of Din we eat apples
in order to sweeten the judgment.
4. Rosh HaShanah we want Hashem to remember the ashes of Akeidas
Yitzchok. The ashes that accumulated on the mizbei'ach from all the
korbonos are called Tapuach or apple.
5. "Tapuach" has the same gematria as "Piru V'Rivu" and "Dvash" has the
same gematria as "Isha". Rosh HaShanah is a special time for barren
women to be remembered by Hashem and blessed with children. We
therefore eat Tapuach B'Dvash.