Rosh Hashanah and Honey

Rosh Hashanah and Honey

Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. It's a joyous holiday filled with tradition and is a time to reflect on the previous year and clear the slate for the sweet year ahead. The family gathers around the table to share history, prayer, and a great meal together.

As a beekeeper, the new year is extra special as honey is the star of the holiday, and it's customary to wish your friends and family a "Sweet New Year."

Every year, I make my special Rosh Hashanah honey cake recipe, full of apples and honey, to celebrate. Both foods are very symbolic in the Jewish faith, so it's important that both make their way to my table.

Rosh hashanah setting with apples and honey
Apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah Apples and Honey

Honey holds a special place in Jewish tradition and is often associated with blessings, abundance, and sweetness. It is mentioned numerous times in the Hebrew Bible as a symbol of prosperity and goodness. 

To begin the celebratory meal, we dip apples into honey and wish each other sweet new beginnings. The apple represents the Garden of Eden, and honey represents the sweetness of life. Rosh Hashanah apples and honey symbolize the good luck and love we want to come in the new year.

Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake Ad

Best Honey Cake Recipes

Although Rosh Hashanah apples and honey are certainly an important part of the holiday, honey cake is another traditional dish that we enjoy to usher in a sweet and fruitful year ahead. It's a time of reflection, introspection, and prayer, and it's customary to eat foods that carry symbolic significance.

The round shape of the honey cake is also important. It represents the cyclical nature of the year and the desire for continuous blessings and good fortune, and reminds us of the eternal and unending nature of time. Now, I will say that this idea is argued endlessly amongst scholars. There are different reasons for the shape according to different people, but I like the idea of it encouraging blessings.

Here are some Rosh Hashanah recipes to try at home:

Bee Inspired Honey line-up for Rosh Hashanah 

What is the Significance of the Beekeeper and Rosh Hashanah?

The beekeeper holds symbolic significance in the context of Rosh Hashanah. While the two aren't explicitly linked, there are some interpretations and connections that can be drawn. 

  • Honey as a symbol: Bees and honey have deep-rooted symbolism in Jewish culture.
  • Connection to Jewish values: Beekeeping aligns with Jewish values and teaching related to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and ethical practices. Beekeepers cultivate a sustainable ecosystem that allows bees to thrive, multiply, create community and produce honey.
  • Hard work and diligence: Beekeeping requires dedication, patience, and hard work. The effort put forth by beekeepers serves as a reminder of the importance of personal growth and reflection during this holiday season.
  • Tikkun Olam: In Jewish tradition, there is a concept called Tikkun Olam, which means "repairing the world." It emphasizes our responsibility to make the world a better place through acts of kindness. Beekeepers actively contribute to the balance and well-being of the natural world. 

The work of beekeepers can serve as a metaphor for the aspirations and ideals that people strive for during the season of Rosh Hashanah. 

As I celebrate my eleventh year as a beekeeper, I've grown to love and appreciate the beauty of honey and the rhythm of our honeybees in our apiary.

In addition to celebrating with Rosh Hashanah apples and honey, we dip challah in honey with the hope of a sweet new year. The problem with this is that most families don’t know that they’re not actually serving their loved ones honey as grocery store honey tends to be full of corn syrup. Your best bet is to grab a gift of honey from your local beekeeper for Rosh Hashanah.

Consider supporting your local beekeepers in this new year and sharing honey that is as raw and real as the bees intended. Not only are you doing good for the local economy, but you’re providing a pure source of joy for your family and friends.  

What is the Tradition of Apples and Honey on Rosh Hashanah?

The tradition of eating apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah is a well-known and cherished practice among Jewish people. It's done to symbolize the desire for a sweet and fruitful year ahead.

Honey, as mentioned earlier, carries symbolic significance in Judaism as a symbol of blessings, abundance, and sweetness. By dipping the apple in honey, we express our wishes for a sweet and prosperous year.

After you've served a plate of honey and apples to begin the meal, enjoy my Rosh Hashanah honey cake recipe for dessert for a traditional spread.

Kara and the team in the pollinator garden during harvest

What is Tashlich?

The Jewish New Year is a holiday is filled with traditions that date back thousands of years. One of the very meaningful practices associated with Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich, a ceremony that symbolically casts away sins. My family and I go to the Chester River and cast away our sins by tossing challah bread into the water.

This ceremony inspires us to remember our actions, right our wrongs, and refocus ourselves for the New Year. While the bread is merely a symbol of our sins, it was greatly enjoyed by the local flock of seagulls passing by.

Challah on cutting board with honey

Is Honey a Good Gift for Rosh Hashanah?

Yes! Honey is traditionally considered a thoughtful and meaningful gift for Rosh Hashanah. Giving honey as a gift during this holiday is a gesture that symbolizes the desire for a sweet and prosperous year ahead.


honey party favor on rosh hashanah place setting
Honey Party Favors at Rosh Hashanah

Celebrate the New Year With Honey

Rosh Hashanah is not only a time of celebration, reflection, and gratitude, but also a profound acknowledgment of the significance of honey. This golden nectar weaves its way into numerous traditions, infusing them with its sweetness and symbolism.

The act of dipping apples in honey becomes a powerful gesture, bringing about a year of prosperity and plenty. And as the celebratory meal comes to a close, the indulgence in honey cakes leaves a lingering taste of joy and anticipation for the future.

Through these age-old customs, Rosh Hashanah reminds us to embrace the sweetness of life and to approach the coming year with hope and optimism. 

This new year, remember to bee happy, and bee sweet.

Our Favorite Rosh Hashanah Recipes

Want a complete meal plan including a shopping list and recipes? Try these Rosh Hashanah Dinner Ideas. And check out our blog for sweet recipes all year long.

honey and honey dipper and apples on platter

Rosh Hashanah Press Features

honey and rosh hashanah tall pin