Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There is a custom to buy a knife for Rosh Hashanah: the qualifier is that the knife not be serrated. What is the source for this custom and what is the significance of the knife not having edges?

share|improve this question
Related?? – msh210 Sep 27 '11 at 22:55
It seems to be counter not related – simchastorah Sep 27 '11 at 23:13
@msh210: nitei gavriel touches on this in the footnotes here: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46450&pgnum=154 hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46450&pgnum=155 – Menachem Oct 3 '11 at 8:07
up vote 3 down vote accepted


"Chatach," (חתך), which means "cut," is the name of the angel in charge of livelihood.

Consider that the final letters of the Hebrew words, פותח את ידך, "You open up Your hand" (Psalms 145:16), spell "chatach." Additionally, the word that follows in the verse, "u'masbe'a" – "and satisfy [the desire of every living being]" has the numerical value of 428 – the same value as the word "chatach."

For this reason, purchasing a new, sharp knife is a segulah (spiritually propitious), for livelihood, which we petition from G‑d for the upcoming year.

Nitei Gavriel 11:10

share|improve this answer
This appears to be the Nitei Gavriel (Rosh Hashana 19:6). I didn't see anything about the angel named Chatach there: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=46450&pgnum=154 – Menachem Oct 3 '11 at 8:05
Look at footnote 8. – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 13:31
This part "‫נגד השם הפרנסה המרומז בס״ת של‬ ‫פותח את ידיך‬ "? – Menachem Oct 3 '11 at 15:30
Yes you got it! – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 20:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.