Ethics

For the week ending 16 September 2006 / 23 Elul 5766

Start the New Year Right

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: In my family we only did the simanim – the eating of special fruits and vegetables that symbolize well for the new year – on the first night of Rosh Hashana. The custom in my wife’s family, however, was to eat these foods on the second night as well. As a newly married man I am inclined to assert my authority in religious matters by insisting that there is no basis for her custom. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: First of all, don’t be so quick to dismiss your wife’s custom as being without a basis. If you will take a look at the sources in the Mishna Berura 583, you will see the reference made by the Sha’arei Teshuva to the commentaries that urge eating these special foods on the second night as well.

While you have your Mishna Berurah open, take a look at what it says (letter 5) about the importance of the avoiding of anger as a good omen for a “good and sweet new year”. Cheerfully going along with your wife on this matter will not only be a symbolic omen for a good year to come but will also provide a concrete foundation to a successful marriage.
And what’s so bad about another pomegranate and slice of apple with honey?
Have a good and sweet new year.

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