There is a lovely article written by Rabbi Aron Moss at israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/8274 about the connection between pomegranates and Rosh Hashanah.
If you happen upon a Judaica store, especially in Israel, it is especially striking how many items are adorned with or are in the shape of pomegranates; honey dishes for Rosh Hashanah, candles and Challah covers, to name just a few. What is it about pomegranates that captures the imagination of Jewish artists? Why this fruit of all the Seven Species that are special to Israel is the one that merits to beautify so many Judaica objects in Jewish people’s houses?
I believe that Rabbi Aron Moss’ refreshing idea sheds a new light on these questions and would therefore like to relay the idea.
Rabbi Moss explains, as a Rabbi who works in Australia in outreach to Jewish souls who are searching for the way back to their roots, that he often encounters Jewish people who tell him that they do not want to practice Judaism because they feel hypocritical. Meaning, they feel that they cannot show their faces before G-d exclusively on the High Holy Days (as is the practice of many traditional Jews) because they know that G-d knows that they don’t go apart from that. Or, they feel that they can’t fast on the awe-filled day of Yom Kippur because they know that G-d knows that they don’t observe the Sabbath day. Or, they can’t put on Tefillin in the morning when they know that straight after they’re going to eat a non-Kosher breakfast. They feel that they simply can’t pick and choose what they want to keep.
Rabbi Moss explains that this is wrong. Although there is truth in that Judaism is not about picking what is comfortable for me to observe and leaving the rest, it is also mistaken to assume that not observing one commandment will negatively affect the keeping of another. And this, explains Rabbi Moss, is how commandments are similar to the seeds of a pomegranate.
The fact that there are seeds in a pomegranate is not particularly unique as far as fruits are concerned. There are plenty of fruits out there with seeds in the centre. However, what is rather unique is that each seed in a pomegranate is individually wrapped with fruit. Every single seed stands alone as a distinct entity.
So too with Mitzvot (commandments). Every single commandment is a distinct entity with it’s own special power and blessing that it brings upon the world. Therefore, not observing one commandment should not prevent one from observing another. Every single commandment that one observes connects one to G-d and elevates one.
In this light, the Talmud’s statement that “even the most disconnected soul is full of commandments like a pomegranate” is understood. Every single good deed stands alone in it’s worth. Therefore, Rabbi Moss says so touchingly, “if you find yourself doing one mitzvah when you still don’t do others, you are not a hypocrite. You are a holy pomegranate”.