Erev Rosh Hashanah:
1. It is customary [but not mandatory] to fast until Halachik mid-day. [1:08 PM]
2. Additional Selichos are said in the morning.
3. No Tachanun is said during the morning service.
4. We do not blow the Shofar after the morning service.
5. One should nullify his / her vows before 3 people in a language that you understand. See Artscroll
Siddur pg. 762. This procedure helps for vows and good deeds that one may have committed to
do, that one does not remember having made.
6. Women can appoint their husbands as their agents to nullify their vows for them. Other women
rely on the Kol Nidrei ceremony to nullify their vows.
7. It is customary to visit the cemetery.
8. One should spend time doing Teshuvah, giving charity, learning, and asking forgiveness from
other people. Before Rosh Hashanah actually begins, one should resolve to strive to focus on
improving a specific area of conduct during the New Year.
9. One should be well groomed in honor of the Yom Tov.
10.One should preferably take a shave and haircut before Halachik Mid- day. [1:08 PM]
11. Men should immerse in the Mikveh no earlier than one hour before Halachik Mid-day. [12:08 PM]
12.One should familiarize oneself with the Machzor.
13.One should wear festive clothing, but in moderation. Save new clothing for the second night of
14.It is customary to bake or purchase Challah in the form of a circle, ladder, or bird.
15.One should be careful not to display anger or even become angry during these special days.
16.Remember that on Rosh Hashanah one is permitted to cook or bake from a pre-existing fire. You
need not have all your food cooked before Yom Tov. [Which is generally required to be done
for Shabbos.] Consult with your Rabbi to learn more of the Halachik details involved.
17.It is preferable and practical to light a 24 hour Yartzeit candle before Yom Tov, so that you will
have a pre-existing flame to use throughout the first day of Yom Tov. This flame will be the one
that you can light candles from on the second night of Rosh Hashanah.
First Evening of Rosh Hashanah:
1. Women light candles either at the regular time of candle lighting [6:44 PM] or from a pre-existing
flame when the men come home from Shul and are ready to eat. They make 2 blessings: One for
the Mitzvah of lighting the Yom Tov candles and the other “Shehechiyanu” blessing. [If a woman
forgets to light candles at these two times, she may light them from a pre-existing flame the entire
2. Men should daven Minchah with a Minyan and everyone should say Minchah with extra
concentration, as it is the final prayer of the year 5779.
3. The earliest time to either light candles or make Kiddush is after 5:48 PM.
4. 4 insertions are made in the Maariv Amidah [and for all Amidahs through Yom Kippur], which are
found in the Artscroll Machzor on pages 62, 64, 66, and 72. One need not repeat the Amida if one
forgot to say any or all of the insertions.
5. We change the ending of the third blessing from “Ha-el Hakadosh” to “Hamelech Hakadosh.” One
must repeat the Amidah if one forgot to insert “Hamelech Hakadosh.”
6. Special greetings are given to friends and family members after Maariv and before Kiddush. “May
you be inscribed and sealed for a good year [immediately, for a good life and for peace].” See
Artscroll Machzor pg. 90 for the Hebrew text. This greeting should only be said on the first night.
Greetings for the remainder of Rosh Hashanah should be limited to “Shana Tova”, “Happy New
Year”, “Chag Samayach”, or “Good Yom Tov.”
7. After making the special Yom Tov Kiddush and washing our hands, we make a Brocha over two
Challahs, and cut the top Challah.
8. Challah is dipped in honey [some have the custom to dip the Challah into salt as well].
9. Symbolic foods are eaten at the evening meal. See Artscroll Machzor pg. 96-98. The first
symbolic fruit to be eaten should be the date. You should make the blessing “Borei Pri Ha’etz” on
that fruit, keeping in mind the other fruits you will be eating on this night. Eat a little of it, followed
by the special “Yehi Ratzon” prayer, and then finish the date. There are no other blessings made
on the symbolic foods. One does say the special “Yehi Ratzon” prayer before eating each of the
10.It is optimal to eat symbolic foods, that normally would require the blessing of “Borei pro
Ho’adama, during the course of your meal, to avoid the doubtful necessity of making that blessing
during the meal.
11. If one is not able to eat any of the symbolic foods, one may look at them and say the special “Yehi
12.Some have a custom to avoid eating sour or bitter foods and nuts.
13.One should not say the blessing of Borei Pei Ha’etz on fruits that one eats for dessert if one had
dessert in mind when one made the blessing on the symbolic fruits at the beginning of the meal.
14.Remember to make the proper insertions during the Birchas Hamazon.
15.It is a custom to learn one Chapter of Mishnayos from Tractate Rosh Hashanah after each of the
Yom Tov meals.
First Day of Rosh Hashanah:
1. Men should come on time to Shul and say the Amidah with a Minyan.
2. The Shema should be recited before 10:10 AM.
3. Although there is no obligation to stand when the Aron Hakodesh is opened during the prayers,
there is a Mitzvah to stand if one has the strength to do so.
4. One should optimally listen to 100 blasts of the Shofar on both days of Rosh Hashanah. 30 are
blown before Mussaf. 30 are blown during the repetition. 40 are blown at the end of the service.
5. Men are obligated to hear the Shofar. Women are technically exempt from hearing the Shofar;
however, it has become customary for women to hear at least 30 blasts of the Shofar. If possible,
they should hear both the 30 blasts before Musaf and the 30 blasts during the repetition of the
6. If you are not able to go to Shul, you should hear a minimum of 30 blasts blown privately for you.
The listener should preferably make the blessings on the Shofar.
7. Children, who are old enough to silently listen to the Shofar, should be encouraged to do so. Little
children, who will disturb the service, may not be brought to Shofar blowing.
8. It is forbidden to talk while the Shofar is being blown. One should not speak from the time that
the blessings on the Shofar are made until after hearing the 100th and final note. Only under
extenuating circumstances may one talk after hearing the first 30 blasts. Women may be more
lenient in this matter after hearing 30 blasts.
9. During the Musaf Amida, one should bow when saying “Modim” in the “Aleinu” prayer.
10.If one chooses to kneel on the floor during Aleinu of the reposition of the Musaf Amida, one
should put some material between their face and the floor.
1. One should leave Shul feeling relaxed and confident that Hashem has accepted his prayers with
2. One is obligated to eat Challah and have a meal on both days of Rosh Hashanah.
3. One should not sleep in the afternoon. [One may be lenient on the second day.] A person who is
very tired should sleep a little, rather than sit around idely and waste time.
4. It is not the custom to visit friends in the afternoon.
5. Any free time in the afternoon should be spent learning Torah or doing Teshuvah or doing acts of
kindness. It is not a time for idle chatter.
6. After Minchah, it is customary to go to Tashlich.
7. If one is unable to go to Tashlish after Mincha, one can go before Mincha.
8. The custom in to recite Tashlich preferably at a body of running water [i.e. a river or stream]
where fish are found. If that is not possible, one can say it by any body of water – even a well.
9. When reciting the word “Vesashlich”, it is customary to shake out the corners or pockets of your
outer garments, which are empty.
10.It is forbidden to throw any crumbs of food into the water. [or to feed the ducks]
11. Tashlich was not designed to be a venue for socializing. [One is permitted to invite guests for
meals and should make an effort to keep the discussions focused on the theme and spirit of Rosh
Second Evening of Rosh Hashanah:
1. One should pray the evening service after Tashlich. It is preferable to say it after the stars come
out, or at least after sunset.
2. One may not make any Yom Tov preparations for the second night, light candles, or make
Kiddush until after 7:51 PM.
3. There are lenient opinions who permit asking a non-Jew to make preparations for the second
night, that do not involve actual work ( e.g. setting the table ) that can be relied on, especially
4. If the first day of Rosh Hashanah is not a Shabbos, there is no need for women to say “Baruch
Hamavdil Ben Kodesh Lekodesh” before making preparations for the second night.
5. Candle lighting and Kiddush are done in the same way as on the first night.
6. One should wear a new garment for candle lighting / kiddush at the second evening meal. Have
this in mind when making the “Shehechiyanu” blessing.
7. It is questionable as to whether one can make a “Shehechiyanu” blessing on any fruits. The only
fruit that one, who lives in Toronto, can definitely say the “Shehechiyanu” blessing is on eating
pumpkins and Ontario Concord grapes for the first time. This. Season..
8. If you do have such fruit, it should optimally be eaten immediately after Kiddush.
9. No one else besides the one who lights candles and / or makes kiddush says the “Shehechiyanu”
10.Some people have the custom to eat the symbolic foods and recite the special prayers at this
meal as well.
Second day of Rosh Hashanah:
1. The procedures for this day are the same as the first day. The exception being that we do not go
to Tashlich again. If it rained on the first day or you were not able to go to Tashlich [or the first day
was Shabbos], you should do so on the second day. [If one does not have the opportunity to go to
Tashlich on both days of Yom Tov, you are permitted to do it until the seventh day of Succos –
2. We make Havdalah after 7:49 PM by saying the blessing "Borei Pri Hagofen" & "Hamavdil" at the
conclusion of Yom Tov.
Rosh Hashanah: Yehi Ratzon – Symbolic Foods Text and Instructions
All of the Yehi Ratzons start out the same way:
"Yehi Ratzon Mil'fa'necha, Ad-noi El-heinu Vei'l-hai Avosainu..."
(The "-" represents the letter "o," which was purposely left out so as not to write out the name of G-d.)
"May it be your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers..."
Listed below are the various foods and the endings, which are appropriate to them:
For dates: "...She'yitamu son'ainu." "...that our enemies be consumed."
For pomegranate: "...she'nirbeh ze'chu'yos k'rimon"
"...that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate."
For the apple in the honey: "...she'tichadesh aleinu shana tova u'm'tuka."
"...that you renew us for a good and sweet year."
For fenugreek (or carrots - as the Yiddish word for carrots - Mehren - can also mean "to increase," this
Yehi Ratzon is appropriate as well):
"...She'yir'bu ze'chuyo'sainu." "...that our merits increase."
For leek or cabbage: "...She'yikar'su son'ainu." "...that our enemies be decimated."
For beets: "...She'yistalku oy'vainu." "...that our adversaries be removed."
For gourd: "...She'yikora g'zar de'nainu v'yikaru l'fanecha zechu'yosainu."
"...that the decree of our sentence be torn up and may our merits be proclaimed before you."
For fish: "...She'nif'reh v'nir'beh ki'dagim." "...that we be fruitful and multiply like fish."
For the head of a fish or sheep: "...She'ni'hiyeh l'rosh v'lo l'zanav."
"...that we be as the head and not as the tail."
All of these Yehi Ratzons are said on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, after Kiddush has been made,
after the blessing over the Challos (breads) has been made and the bread has been eaten. (There are
those who have the custom to eat these foods and recite the Yehi Ratzon on the second night as well.)
After the bread has been eaten, one should take the date, make the blessing that one would normally
make on fruit [“Borei Pri Ha’etz’], and then take a bite of the date. Before one has eaten the whole date,
one should recite the Yehi Ratzon. After the date, one can then have all, none, or some of the other