Thursday, October 20, 2005


Yoinoson Schreiber writes about avoiding nuts during Tishrei (and he doesn't mean my brother-in-law, bada-bing) Money quotes:
The Shulchan Aruch tells us that the accepted custom is not to eat nuts on Rosh Hashonah. Why not you may ask? Two reasons are given - a logical one and a er, well less logical one. The logical one is that nuts make people cough and since we spend most of our New Year in Shul in quiet prayer the coughing would disturb the concentration of those trying to daven (pray). The less logical one is that nuts in Hebrew have the same numeric aggregate as the Hebrew for sin.
Yonatan is right about the reasons often given for avoiding nuts, but he misses the best part of the story: The math doesn't work. The numerical value of nut ("egoz") in Hebrew is 17; the numerical value of the word "chet," which means sin, is 18. However this doesn't stop everyone from kindergarten teachers to shul websites from insisting the two sums are equivlent.