Halachically Speaking: Sleeping on Rosh Hashana & Rosh Hashanah and Honey Dipping

hsBy Rabbi Moshe D. Lebovits. Many poskim say (based on a Yerushalmi) that one should not sleep on Rosh Hashanah by day because doing so may make one’s mazel weak.[1] The common expression “One who sleeps on Rosh Hashanah will have a sleepy year” has no source in halacha. A person who sleeps on Rosh Hashanah by day will not have the then the defense attorney at his side.[2] Additionally, when one sleeps his nishama is by Hashem, and on the Day of Judgment it is good for one to have his nishama upstairs by Hashem.[3] The Arizal is quoted as not having been concerned with this inyan and he did sleep on Rosh Hashanah.[4] Some poskim suggest that one should be careful not eat too much food so he will not get too tired and fall asleep.[5]

Many poskim say that after chatzos one can be lenient and go to sleep.[6] Others say that the second day of Rosh Hashanah is more lenient than the first.[7] It is better for one to go to sleep than to sit around talking and not learning.[8] Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l[9] says one who feels a need to go to sleep in order to daven better is permitted to sleep.

Although sleeping on Shabbos is an enjoyment, some say if Rosh Hashanah falls out on Shabbos one still should not sleep.[10] Some poskim feel that one who wishes to avoid sleeping on Rosh Hashanah by day should get up by alos hashachar.[11] However, the custom is not in accordance with this opinion.[12] According to all poskim, if one sits on a chair and dozes off, it is not considered sleeping on Rosh Hashanah.[13] One may sleep at night on Rosh Hashanah since the whole iynun is not to sleep by day.[14]

[1] Refer to Rambam Hilchos Teshuva 3:4, Yosef Ometz 976:page 216, Matei Moshe 5:281, Bach 597, Darchei Moshe 583:2, Rama 583:2, Elya Rabbah 5, Machtzis Ha’shekel 6, Gr’a 14, Shulchan Aruch Harav 8, Moed Lechul Chai 12:31, Matei Ephraim 598:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:20, Mishnah Berurah 583:9, Aruch Ha’shulchan 597:2, Shemiras Haguf V’hanefesh 138:1:footnote 1, see Minhag Avoseinu B’yudeinu 1:pages 67-68 who brings poskim who mention that this Yerushalmi is not in any of the prints we have today.

[2] Minhag Avoseinu B’yudeinu 1:pages 69-70, see Noheg Katzon Yosef Rosh Hashanah 16:page 270.

[3] Minhag Avoseinu B’yudeinu 1:page 71:footnote 25. Some say all year round we are not careful and we sleep during the day. However, one day a year we should be careful that day is on Rosh Hashanah. (Minhag Avoseinu B’yudeinu 1:page 71).

[4] Magen Avraham 6, Pri Chadash 583:2, Aruch Ha’shulchan 597:2, Shearim Metzuyanim B’halacha (kuntres achron) 129:20, see Levush 583 who does not mention this inyun at all of not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah. (Refer to Elya Rabbah 5). Some say the Arizal was makpid but after chatzos he was lenient (Minhga Avvoseinu B’udeinu 1:page 74:foontoe 41, see Elef Hamatei 598:1).

[5] Seder Hayom seder Rosh Hashanah page 47 (old).

[6] Magen Avraham 6, Be’er Heitiv 7, Mekor Chaim 583, Shulchan Aruch Harav 8, Mishnah Berurah 583:9, Aruch Ha’shulchan 4, Kaf Ha’chaim 35, Orchos Rabbeinu 2:page 190:36-37. refer to Moreh B’etzbah 9:263 who is stringent.

[7] Orchos Chaim (Spinka) 583, Aruch Ha’shulchan ibid, see Moed Lechul Chai 12:31, Kaf Ha’chaim 36, Mekadesh Yisroel 114 who are stringent.

[8] Magen Avraham 6, Be’er Heitiv 7, Eishel Avraham Butchatch 6, Shulchan Aruch Harav 8, Lekutei Maharich 3:page 639 (new), Mishnah Berurah ibid, Aruch Ha’shulchan 4, Kaf Ha’chaim 36.

[9] Ve’alu Lo Ubol pages 209-210:349-350, Halichos Shlomo Moadim 1:24, see Ben Ish Chai Netzavim 1:11, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:20, Mishnah Berurah quoting a Chai Adom, Shar Ha’tzyion 10.

[10] Teharas Ha’shulchan 583:2.

[11] Ben Ish Chai Netzavim 1:11, Matei Ephraim 584:1, Kaf Ha’chaim 39, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:339.

[12] Minhag Ysiroel Torah 583:7, Halichos Shlomo Moadim 1:23:footnote 36, see Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 17:footnote 33, Mikadesh Yisroel 115, Shemiras Haguf V’hanefesh 138:footnote 1.

[13] Opinion of Horav Chaim Kanievesky Shlita quoted in Toras Hamodaim page 9.

[14] Refer to Avodas Yisroel Rosh Hashanah page 60, see Katzei Hamatei 598:2, Lekutei Maharich 3:page 639 (new), Minhag Avoseinu B’yudeinu 1:pages 81-82.


Rosh Hashanah and Honey Dipping

We all know since we were young that we dip the apple and challah into honey on Rosh Hashanah. This custom is not mentioned in the Gemorah, or Geonim, but is nonetheless, the overwhelming custom of klal yisroel.[1] A few points worth addressing is why do we dip the apple in honey as opposed to other fruits? When do we do the dipping? Should also dip the challah in salt as well as honey? Until when is the custom to dip challah into honey?

We will begin to discuss each one of the above in order as presented.

The reason for eating the honey on Rosh Hashanah is for us to have a sweet new year. [2] The custom of some is to dip an apple [3] into a bit of honey,[4] while others dip it three times.[5] Some say that the dipping into the honey (and other simonim) is done on both nights,[6] while others say it is only done on the first night.[7] The custom of most people is according to the first opinion quoted.

Some say dipping the apple in the honey is done after kiddush.[8] The custom of many is to do this after washing and eating some bread.[9] When we dip the apple in the honey no beracha is made on the honey since the apple is the ikkur.[10]

Some say dipping the apple is based on the reason of kabbalah.[11] The Ben Ish Chai[12] says many reasons for this; one which is understandable and does not seem to be based on kabbalah is the following: An apple has taste, it looks and smells nice, and this is a good sign for us on Rosh Hashanah.

Many poskim say that the beracha on the fruit should be said and a bit should be eaten before reciting the customary yihi ratzon in order to avoid any hefsek between the beracha and the eating.[13] B’dieved it is not a hefsek if the yihi ratzon was said before eating the apple.[14]

Many have the custom to dip the challah into honey on Rosh Hashanah.[15] Some have the custom to dip the challah into salt on one side and honey on the other.[16]

The custom of many is to dip the challah into honey until Shemenei Atzeres.[17]

[1] Maharil Hilchos Rosh Hashanah 7, Rama 583:1, Darchei Moshe 3, Levush 583:2, Shulchan Aruch Harav 1, Yufei Leleiv 2:583:2, Aruch Ha’shulchan 2. Refer to Chai Adom 139:6 who says to eat some of the apple, then dip it into honey.

[2] Maharil Hilchos Rosh Hashanah 7, Darchei Moshe 3, Drisha 583. Refer to Shulchan Aruch Harav 4, Moadim L’Simcha 1:pages 87-88.

[3] Rama ibid. Refer to Emes L’Yaakov 583:footnote 538 who says one should use a sweet apple not a sour one.

[4] Sharei Teshuva 583:2. Some dip the apple in sugar (Moed Lechol Chai 2:16).

[5] Moadim L’Simcha 1:page 88.

[6] Harav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, Elya Rabbah 583:1, Sharei Teshuva 583:1, Moreh B’etzbah 9:266, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:266, Matei Ephraim 583:2. Ben Ish Chai Netzavim 1:8, Moed Lechol Chai 12:15, Yufei L’Leiv 2:583:8, Kaf Ha’chaim 583:4, Siddur Yaavetz 2:page 322, Habayis Hayehudi 3:11, Refer to Ohr Yisroel 13:pages 123-132 in depth, see Leket Yosher page 124.

Some say to think the beracha on the second night (Eishel Avraham Butchatch 583).

[7] Eishel Avraham Butchatch 583:1, Matei Ephraim 600:9, Elef Hamugen 583:footnote 15, Bnei Yisoschor Tishrei 2:11:page 5, Aruch Ha’shulchan 583:3, Moreh Betzbah 9:266:footnote 15, Mikroei Kodesh Yomim Noraim 7. Refer to Matei Ephraim 605:18 regarding Erev Yom Kippur.

[8] Maharil Hilchos Rosh Hashanah 6. Refer to Darchei Chaim V’Sholom 707:pages 242-243.

[9] Elya Rabbah 4, Siddur Yaavetz 2:page 264 and page 322, Lekutei Maharich 3:page 618, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:266, Yechaveh Da’as 1:51.

[10] Magen Avraham 583:1, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 1, Sharei Teshuva 2, Shevus Yaakov 2:27, Yosef Ometz 965, Mishnah Berurah 3.

[11] Taz 583:2, Elya Rabbah 3. Refer to Taamei Haminhagim 706:pages 310-311.

[12] Netzavim 1:4.

[13] Magen Avraham 2, Taz ibid, Elya Rabbah 3, Pri Megadim Eishel Avraham 2, Shulchan Aruch Harav 3. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9, Chai Adom 139:6, Mamer Mordechai 583:3, Mishnah Berurah 4, Aruch Ha’shulchan 2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 129:9. Refer to Moadim L’Simcha 1:pages 90-91. See Zichron Yehuda 1:236, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:266, Yechaveh Da’as 1:51. B’dieved it is not a hefesk if the yihi ratzon was said before eating

[14] Elya Rabbah 4.

[15] Magen Avraham 583:1, Shulchan Aruch Harav 4, Siddur Yaavetz 2:page 264, Mishnah Berurah 3, Aruch Ha’shulchan 3, Zichron Yehuda 1:236, Bnei Yissochor ibid:13, Kaf Ha’chaim 583:4, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:266. Refer to Shevus Yaakov 2:27 who says to eat the apple and bread at the same time with honey. However, the custom is not like this opinion (Sharei Teshuva 2).

[16] Refer to Kaf Ha’chaim 583:4, Salmas Chaim 1:346 (old).

[17] Orchos Rabbeinu 2:page 173:6.

Rabbi Moishe D. Lebovits, a musmach of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. Currently he serves as a Rabbinical Administrator for KOF-K Kosher Supervision. Halachically Speaking is a monthly publication seen by tens of thousands around the world. For Halachically Speaking seforim see www.israelbookshoppublications.com For other articles and to subscribe for free see thehalacha.com To contact Rabbi Lebovits, please email [email protected]

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