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Many have a custom not to eat nuts during elul, because אגוז is gematria חטא (sin). So what exactly is considered nuts? Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Macadamian, Hazelnuts, Pecans? How about Peanuts (or doughnuts)? How to classify?

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    I dont Know but I guess you cant do Tov either because that too is Gematria חטא – SimchasTorah Sep 8 '10 at 20:49
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    TBDE, It is specifically the food as a siman that is the problem. Actions are not simanim; they are real in and of themselves. The Kotzker just said "חטא iz oich bi'gematria חטא!" as a word of warning to those who get caught up in the simanim but do not heed reality. – Yahu Sep 8 '10 at 21:01
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    The question begins, "Many have a custom not to eat nuts during elul". I have never heard of the minhag of "many" not to eat nuts in Elul. The Rama"h in Shuchan Aruch specifically refers to this being the custom on Rosh Hashana. Can anyone cite sources for the expanded custom for the entire month of Elul? – mocdeg Sep 2 '11 at 13:26
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    אגוז is 17, therefore is NOT the gematria of חטא which is 18. – user3116 Aug 13 '13 at 18:18
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    See my answer below: אגוז is the same gematria as חט, sin (minus the א – the way it is spelled in Talmud Yerushalmi – Zvi Aug 21 '17 at 14:37
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Even though the famous reason for not eating nuts is because of the gematria, there is another reason not to eat nuts from Elul through Hoshanah Rabbah (and this would apply to all tree-nuts and maybe even peanuts) is since they increase phlegm they will hinder one's own ability to pray and disturb others (by clearing the throat) as well. And since we spend so much time praying at this time of year better to not eat anything that may hinder one's ability to do so. It seems that walnuts and hazelnuts are the only one's mentioned by Mateh Efraim and this is probably because those were prevalent in his area. In addition the word "egoz" is also used as a general term for tree-nuts.

  • So does that mean other nuts are okay. How can one tell if they will hinder prayer? – yydl Sep 8 '10 at 21:20
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    There is also that it is Yom Hazikoron and they are Kasha Lishkcha (strangely not mentioned by Rav Kanievsky in His Kuntres about thing that are Kasha Lishikcha) – SimchasTorah Sep 8 '10 at 21:24
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    For an amazing in depth see Rabbi Etan Finers article on this here: whiteshul.org/content/fileView.cfm?sscId=216 The Rosh Hashanah Article – SimchasTorah Sep 8 '10 at 21:46
  • @yydl I recommend trying the nuts some other time, and see if you have extra phlegm. Different people will have different reactions to different nuts. – Double AA Mar 25 '12 at 6:25
  • He only mentions the minhag for avoiding nuts on Rosh Hashana itself, not throughout Elul! – Zvi Aug 21 '17 at 14:28
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Dose of Halacha points out that the custom is only to avoid them on Rosh Hashana itself.

The Rema (OC 583:2) writes that many have the custom to avoid eating nuts on Rosh Hashana. One reason for this is because אגוז is the same gematria as חט, sin (minus the א – the way it is spelled in Talmud Yerushalmi). Similar to the various simanim we eat on Rosh Hashana, we want to remind – and inspire - ourselves to do teshuva as one eats – or avoids - these special foods (Matei Ephraim 583:2). Thus, many avoid bitter foods.

While many avoid nuts throughout the aseres yemei teshuva, there doesn’t seem to be any source for this.

R’ Shmuel Kamenetsky (quoted in Kovetz Halachos: Yomim Noraim) holds that while one may eat food with nuts mixed or baked in, they should not be recognizable. (Thus, smooth peanut butter may be consumed, though chunky peanut butter should be avoided.)

While this is an ashkenazic minhag, some Poskim point out that the Maharam Mi’Rottenburg used to eat nuts on Rosh Hashana.

Halachically Speaking (page 3) writes that almonds are included but one can have peanuts.

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