Apples & Honey

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
The tradition of dipping an apple in honey on Rosh HaShanah is very well known. But I am not sure if I need to say a separate blessing on the apple, for example when it is eaten after the challah at dinner on Rosh HaShanah night. What about a blessing on the honey?
Thanks for your advice.
Happy New Year
Zisi

Dear Zisi
Thank you for your timely question, which has implications for meals at other times as well. The apple does get its own beracha (borei peri ha-etz), as it is not usually eaten as part of a meal, plus it has a symbolic, ritual significance at this time. (As you know, there is a “short and sweet” prayer/hope we express, that Hashem grants us a sweet New Year.) The honey, however, does not get a separate blessing, as it is a condiment and subordinate to the apple itself.
The first of these reasons (ie not typically included as part of a meal) applies to fruit eaten at a meal, particularly as dessert, at other times as well.
One further point: If you also eat, as many do, a date (for the pun value—in Hebrew, not English) or pomegranate (whose multitude of seeds are symbolic of productivity and fruitfulness), you should say the blessing on the pomegranate first (and instead), rather than on the apple. The reason for this is that both of these are among the fruits which the Torah associates with the Land of Israel, and therefore get precedence in blessings. (You may, however, find it difficult to dip the pomegranate in honey—hence the trusty apple as well.)
Bon appetit and bonne année!
Rabbi Rashi Simo

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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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