I took this picture in Bombay's Crawford Market, where vendors sell an amazing array of fruits and vegetables. I love the pomegranate, shown here in its mysterious splendor, sensual and replete with seeds. The rabbis say the pomegranate has 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 mitzvot in the Torah! I've counted and it's pretty close!
It's no wonder that the pomegranate is a central symbol for Rosh Hashanah. Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews (including Jews from India and Baghdad) use the pomegranate as part of a mini-seder on Rosh Hashanah during which we make blessings on different fruits and vegetables that symbolize our wishes for the new year.
The blessing over the pomegranate is:
Yehi ratzone milfanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, she-nihyeh meleím mitzvot ka-rimon.
May it be your will, our God and God of our fathers, that we should be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is full of seeds.
Here are some tips on how to cut a pomegranate!
Pomegranates are also healthy for you! Check out 10 top reasons to love the pomegranate:
For more on the Rosh Hashanah seder, please see my book, Apples and Pomegranates.