The honey in "land of milk and honey" is date honey (I believe), and yet most people use bee honey on Rosh Hashana. Does it matter what kind of honey you use at all?

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    See he.wikipedia.org/wiki/… it started with Mahari"l around 1500. Because it was an Ahkenazi tradition, date honey wasn't available and the idea was simply to dip an apple in something sweet (and cheap). No deep thought, seemingly.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 16:35
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    לקט יושר חלק א (אורח חיים) עמוד קכד ענין ה ודבש דבורים מן המובחר, כי הדבורים דמי למשפט, כי עושים נקמה לפעמים, כמו שמוכח מן הפסוקים, ומה שיוצא מהן מתוק.
    – guest10236
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 20:14
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    The Leket Yosher writes that bee's honey is preferable because of the symbolism: bee's render judgment by stinging people, but they also produce a sweet honey, and this is symbolic of the day of judgment for humanity. Very deep thought, seemingly.
    – guest10236
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 8:17
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    Hi @guest10236 I recommend that you make your comments an answer. It definitely addresses the question!
    – DanF
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


According to Levush [O”Ch 583] honey is a custom of Ashkenaz. Apparently, when the custom developed, date honey was not available. In fact, since dates are one of the symbolic foods for Rosh Hashana [Krisus 6a] it is possible that the custom of eating honey was a substitute for dates. Some explain bee honey as symbolizing turning the harshness of last year into the sweetness of this year, based on, “and from vigor came sweetness.” [Shoftim 14:14]. On a similar note, Leket Yosher [O”Ch] states that bee honey is actually preferable. Bees represent judgment, as they sometimes sting out of vengeance. Yet, they produce sweet honey. Therefore, it is anticipated that the Day of Judgment will result in sweetness.


Rav Reisman is quoted as answering the question here

Rav Yisroel Reisman (Ki Savo 5775) offers a beautiful insight which provides a brilliant perspective for life. Date honey generally doesn’t take much effort to obtain, as the sweet nectar often flows out of the fruit and coats each one with a sweet and sticky outer layer. On the other hand, bee honey is only attained through a lot of work and pain as the stinger-wielding swarm angrily defends their natural candy. Consequently, when we ask Hashem for a sweet new year, the easily acquired date honey is not the model example. Although we may be most comfortable with an easy-going pleasant year, a truly sweet and successful life comes with deep determination and personal sacrifice.

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