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Why do we eat apples on Rosh Hashana?
The Maharil explains that we find in Bereishit 27 that Yaakov disguised himself as Esav in order to
"trick" Yitzchok, his father, into giving him the brachot (blessings) of the first-born, which Esav
had previously sold to Yaakov. When Yaakov came close to Yitzchok, who was blind, Yitzchok noticed a
sweet smell emanating from Yaakov. Yitzchok commented (Bereishit 27:27) "See, the smell of my son is like the smell
of a field which Hashem has blessed." He then continued to bless him with blessings of wealth and power.
According to many
commentators, the "field which Hashem has blessed" refers to an apple field, and the smell of that apple field is
also the smell of Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). The Vilna Gaon continues to explain that this incident with the
blessings occurred on Rosh HaShana. It is therefore fitting to eat an apple, a fruit whose smell is associated with the
blessings of Yaakov (which were given on this day) as well as with Gan Eden, on the day on which we ourselves want
brachot / blessings.
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