Rosh Hashana Minhagim
Rabbi Jonathan Blass

Question: Can you please explain the significance of the Yehi-Ratzons and special food eating we do on Rosh Hashana. I donít understand how chaza"l tell us to do all these "play on words" so to speak. It seems a bit humorous. Thank you
Answer: Your question is addressed in Shut Mishne Halachot XI 474. It says there that the food that it is customary to eat on Rosh Hashana is seen as an attempt at "priming the pump". The prophets at the beginning of their prophecies were often instructed to take actions that hinted the events in the future that they foresaw. These actions were seen as initiating those events. As Jews pray for the blessings of the New Year, the "Yehi-Ratzons" express a true desire to overcome our failings in the past year. The food eaten is a "good sign" intended to "initiate" the blessings we pray that G-d will send us.

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