Foods to avoid on Rosh Hashanah

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Foods that are avoided on Rosh Hashanah: 

Nuts: [1] Some are particular to avoid eating Egozim and Luzim[2] [and all forms of nuts[3]] on Rosh Hashanah.[4]

Sour and pickled foods:[5] The fish [eaten as the Siman] is not to be cooked in vinegar. [Many people avoid eating all pickled or sour foods, such as lemons [pickles and olives[6]] and the like.[7] Likewise all bitter foods are avoided.[8]]


Other foods listed in Poskim that are to be avoided:

  • Goat meat.[9]
  • Grapes: Some Poskim[10] write one is to avoid eating grapes on Rosh Hashanah. From other Poskim[11] however it is evident that there is no need to refrain from eating sweet grapes. Practically this stringency is not the widespread custom.[12] Some[13] explain that the above stringency only refers to black grapes, while white grapes are specifically to be eaten as a good omen.[14] Others[15] explain the above stringency is only with regards to sour grapes while sweet grapes may be eaten according to all.
  • Beans/legumes: All foods that increase phlegm and saliva, such as certain beans and legumes, are to be avoided.[16]
  • Garlic: Some are accustomed not to eat garlic.[17] Others[18] however were not particular in this matter.
  • Fruits: All sour fruits, such as lemons, are avoided as stated above. Some avoid eating [sour] Rimonim, grapes and pears.[19] One is to avoid any fruit that is not yet ripe.[20] Some[21] write one is to avoid eating a large amount of sweet fruits such as apples and citrus as they can cause Keri impurity.


Summary of foods that are avoided:

  • Nuts
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Sour grapes
  • Unripe fruits
  • Bitter fruits and vegetables.



May one use the above foods as seasoning for other foods?[22]

It is permitted to season ones food with any of the above ingredients so long as the food will not become bitter or pickled due to the seasoning. Thus one may season salad with lemon and the like.


May one eat cake and cookies that contain nuts?[23]

It is permitted to eat cakes, cookies and the like that contain ground nuts within their ingredients even if their taste is slightly felt within the food.[24] This applies even if it contains the Egoz nut.[25] Nevertheless many are accustomed to be stringent to avoid eating any food that contains the Egoz nut in the ingredients as the Egoz is the Gematria of Chet [sin]. Practically one who is stringent is blessed.[26]


Must one avoid eating spicy, sharp and hot foods?[27]

There is no need to refrain from eating sharp foods, such as chili peppers, Sechug, Charif and the like.


Until when are the above foods to be avoided?[28]

The custom is to avoid eating nuts until after Simchas Torah.[29] Many[30] are accustomed to avoid eating any of the above foods until after Simchas Torah.


Avoiding anger:[31]

One must be very careful not to get angry on Rosh Hashanah, as besides for the great sin of anger, doing so on Rosh Hashanah is a bad omen for the coming year.


Being joyful and happy as a good omen:[32]

One is to be happy and rejoice on Rosh Hashanah as a good omen for the coming year. He is to trust in Hashem that his Teshuvah and good deeds will be accepted before Hashem.


Not to smoke:[33]

Those people who do smoke throughout the year, including on the festivals, abstain from doing so on Rosh Hashanah. It would be proper for Torah scholars to adhere to this restriction and to influence their acquaintances likewise. This applies even in private.[34]


[1] 583/6; Rama 583/2 [“Some do not to eat Egozim as it is the Gematria of sin and causes saliva”]; Darkei Moshe 589/3 in name of Mahril

Other opinions: There were some Poskim that did not avoid eating nuts as well as other foods that increase seed. [Darkei Moshe 583/1 in name of Kol Bo; Kaf Hachaim 583/26]

[2] Admur ibid; M”A 583/4; P”M 583 A”A 4; M”E 583/3; Kaf Hachaim 583/27

The difference between Egozim and Luzim: Egozim are large nuts while Luzim are small nuts. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid] Some say that Egozim are almonds. [Makor Chaim 583 brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 37] The Rama ibid does not mention Luzim [as it is not the Gematria of sin]. However based on the second reason of the Rama [increases saliva] also Luzim are not to be eaten. [M”A ibid] See next footnote.

[3] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 37 that so is the custom in many communities to avoid all nuts [pistachio, peanuts, almonds] and not just the Egoz and Luz.

[4] The reason: Due to that it increases saliva and phlegm, and causes one to nullify his prayers. [Admur ibid; second reason in Rama ibid] The Rama ibid however mentions a first reason [omitted here by Admur] that Egozim is the Gematria of sin and hence is avoided. Vetzrauch Iyun why Admur omitted this reason. The Darkei Moshe 589/3 writes that the Mahril avoided eating nuts on R”H in order so he does not have to spit during the Tekios.

Gematria of Egoz: The Gematria of Egoz is in truth 17 while Chet is 18. However the Alef of Chet is not included being it is not verbalized and hence they have the same Gematria. Now although Egoz is also the Gematria of Tov [good] nevertheless it is to be avoided as it also has a negative Gematria. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 36 in name of Daas Torah] 

[5] 583/2; Teshuvos Hageonim 114 brought in Kaf Hachaim 583/18

[6] So is the worldly custom, as it is similar to fish in vinegar or brine which Admur writes, based on Teshuvos Hageonim, to avoid.

[7] Chida in Moreh Baetzba and Tov Ayin 18/91; Kaf Hachaim 583/18; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129/9; M”B 583/5; Ben Ish Chai ibid

[8] M”E 583/3; Kaf Hachaim ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/5

[9] Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 4; Kaf Hachaim 583/24; For this reason it is proper to avoid raising goats. This especially applies on Rosh Hashanah and throughout Aseres Yimei Teshuvah. [ibid]

[10] Maaseh Rav 204 brought in Kaf Hachaim 583/21 based on Zohar and Kabalistic reasons; Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 5 [however perhaps he only refers to sour grapes]

The reason: This is based on the Zohar which states that the tree that Adam ate from [tree of good and evil] was a grapevine. Now Adam ate from the tree on Erev Shabbos which was the first day of Tishrei which is Rosh Hashanah. Thus we avoid eating grapes on Rosh Hashanah in order to rectify the sin of Adam. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/7]

[11] See M”E 200/6 regarding using grapes for Shehechiyanu; Likkutei Mahrich Leil Beis that his teacher the Yitav Lev recited the Shehechiyanu over grapes.

[12] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/7

[13] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[14] Kaf Hachaim 583/21; See Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 5 that writes to avoid grapes in general as they are sour.

[15] Chazon Ish brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 583 footnote 45

[16] M”E 583/3; Kaf Hachaim 583/28

[17] Ketzei Hamateh 583/17; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/8

[18] Darkei Moshe 583/1 in name of Kol Bo; Kaf Hachaim 583/26

[19] Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 5; Kaf Hachaim 583/18

[20] M”E 600/6; Ben Ish Chaiy Netzavim 5; Kaf Hachaim 583/18

The reason: As the fruits are usually sour. Alternatively unripe fruits are not a good omen. [M”E ibid]

[21] Yifei Laleiv 2/10; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[22] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/5 footnote 30

[23] Beir Moshe 3/97; Yad Yitzchak 1/208; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/7

[24] The reason: As there is not an enough amount of nuts in the food to cause one to increase in saliva and phlegm. [Beir Moshe ibid]

[25] The reason: Even if the cake contains the Egoz nut which is the Gematria of Chet it is permitted as even to eat actual Egoz is a mere Chumra and not a law. [ibid]

[26] Beir Moshe ibid; However see Admur ibid which completely omits this reason of the Rama.

[27] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/5 based on the fact the sharp foods are not mentioned in any Poskim. See also Aruch Hashulchan 583/3.

[28] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/5 and 7

[29] Beis Hayotzer 43; Ketzei Hamateh 583/16 [there he brings that also in Elul nuts are avoided]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/7

Other customs: Reb Nosson Adler as well as the Chasam Sofer were not particular against eating nuts after Rosh Hashanah. [See Beir Moshe 3/97; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 38]

[30] Piskeiy Teshuvos 583/5; Luach Dvar Yom Beyomo

[31] Ben Ish Chai Parshas Nitzavim 6; Kaf Hachaim 583/20; Chayeh Adam 139/6; M”B 583/5

[32] Kaf Hachaim 583/20; Chayeh Adam 139/6; M”B 583/5

[33] M”E 599/1; Shaareiy Teshuvah 511/5 in name of Machazik Bracha; Sefer Haminhagim p. 117 [English];  Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rayatz 4/132; 6/429; Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 53

[34] Igros Kodesh Rebbe Rayatz 6/429; Otzer ibid


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