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Dvar for Rosh Hashanah 5764

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the short, practical Lelamed Weekly Dvar. Let's start the new year off by finding new people to forward these Emails to!

Shana Tova Umetuka! Enjoy...

* * *

Rosh Hashanah, according to the Sefer Hachinuch, is the day on which the creatures of the world are judged, both as a whole, and as individuals. But why have a Day of Judgment if the ruling won't be final until Yom Kippur, which is 10 days later? If the judgment isn't final until Yom Kippur, then Yom Kippur should be the only Judgment Day, and thus Rosh Hashanah has no real purpose!? In addition, of all things, why did G-d choose the Shofar (ram's horn) as the tool to inspire our repentance.

The Ben Ish Chai tells the story of a man who had a ring made especially for him. He engraved the words "This too shall pass" on the ring. If he was troubled or pained, he would look at his ring and remember that his suffering would eventually end. Likewise, during times of happiness, he would gaze at the ring as well and realize that his wealth and good fortune could change for the worse in an instant."This too shall pass." The ring reminded the man that his life must be put in perspective, and that one should never live life either complacent or despondent. We too can use the Shofar to represent joy (as we did when we won a battle), and it can represent sorrow (since it sounds like crying).

Now we can use this logic to understand Rosh Hashanah better. Rosh Hashanah is in no way the finish line, but rather the starting line that G-d has graciously provided for us. Instead of getting to the finish line without knowing when the race actually began, G-d "shoots the gun" on Rosh Hashanah, telling us that we'd better start running. This "gun" is the Shofar, which has the potential to be a positive step, or a negative one, depending on which way we choose to run. This Rosh Hashanah, if we commit to make even one small step toward being a better Jew, we'd already be on our way to winning the race, and on our way to a triumphant year!

Quotation of the week (thanks to Ari):
"Repent one day before you die" -Rabbi Eliezer

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Last Updated: Monday, October 03, 2005