The word Simanim literally means signs or indicators that are meant to point the way to improved circumstances.

Some take this quite seriously, preceding their consumption of these foods on Rosh Hashanah with a specific, heartfelt prayer connected to the character of the food. For example, before eating carrots some say, “May it be your will, G‑d our G‑d and the G‑d of our forefathers that our merits increase.”

Carrots are a siman for an increase in our spiritual merits. It’s a play on words; carrots in Yiddish are merren which also means “many.” Wishing that we had more mitzvahs on our record this time of year isn’t a shoulda-coulda-woulda guilt trip. It’s a commitment for the future.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Bake

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Ready Time: 1 hour

Servings: 6-8


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to coat.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and cover with foil.
  5. Bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.