Blessed with 613 healthy benefits, the pomegranate carries an additional meaning and significance in Jewish traditions and Rosh Hashanah customs. The red and juicy fruit has been part of Jewish traditions for ages, first appearing in the torah, as one of the Seven Species brought to the Israelites from the Promised Land. Wandering in the desert after fleeting Egypt, the Hebrews yearned for its juice. They had a chance to enjoy its sweet taste after the Spies brought it back with the other 6 Species as a sign that they are headed to a good land: “For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land…a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates” (Deuteronomy 8:7-8).
There have been countless mentions to the red fruit in the bible, often as a decoration on Priests cloths and as mentioned above, one of the Seven Species. The pomegranate has been an important Jewish symbol for centuries and even nowadays decorates many Judaica pieces, from Tallitot to Jewish jewelry. But, what is behind the pomegranate’s symbolism and importance in Judaism?
Pomegranate Symbol of righteousness
Containing 613 seeds, matching in number to the 613 commandments given by God to the Hebrews, easily explains the notion of this fruit as sign of righteousness. The number of seeds corresponds to number of Mitzvot we must observe to be righteous.
“Even the sinners of Israel are filled with mitzvot like a pomegranate.”Song of Songs, 4:3.
Pomegranate and Rosh Hashanah
While the pomegranate does not really have a set number of seeds and if you have tasted one you would agree that 613 seeds is purely symbolic, we eat the pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah and pray “That our merits shall increase like a pomegranate.” In Shehechiyanu blessing that celebrates new and unusual experiences. This way our prayer expresses our wishes and hopes for the New Year and our commitment to fulfilling our part in the deal.
Thus, on the second night of Rosh Hashanah it is a custom to eat a new fruit, not eaten for a long time and the pomegranate is the ideal option, as symbol of fertility, and unlimited possibilities for the New Year.
Rimon, and in Plural Rimonim in Hebrew, the pomegranate is a wonderful Jewish symbol, definitely mysterious and interesting to explore. Pomegranates will insure you have a sweet Rosh Hashanah holiday and will definitely contribute to your New Year experiences as they strengthen you in body and soul.