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...
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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
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!