Rosh Hashanah: A Call to Unity
The blowing of the shofar is a most enigmatic mitzvah. The reasons we eat matzah, sit in the Sukkah or take the lulav are readily apparent; they commemorate historical events and/or agricultural seasons. Yet the reason for the blowing of the shofar leaves us mystified. As far as we can tell from the Bible, no actual events took place on the "first day of the seventh month" that would warrant it being declared a...Continue Reading »
Rosh Hashanah: Time for Prayer
Rosh Hashanah is first and foremost a day of prayer. Prayer, as Rav Soloveitchik often noted, is rooted in asking G-d to fulfil our needs. One who is fully satisfied with his life has no need to pray. As the Yom haDin, the Day of Judgment, approaches, our needs and thus, the amount of time spent in prayer grows—such that on Yom Kippur, when our fate is sealed, the entire day is spent in prayer. The Torah readings on Rosh...Continue Reading »
Rosh Hashanah: A Redemptive Moment
One of the strengths of the Jewish people is our ability to focus on the future. What we do tomorrow is more important than we did yesterday. The entire notion of teshuva is dependent on our ability to move beyond the past, to say that I can do better tomorrow than yesterday. We are people who exude hope for the future no matter what may have transpired in the past. Only such a people could possibly build one of the most successful countries on...Continue Reading »
Rosh Hashanah: A Great Gift!
Teshuva tefillah, utzedkaha ma’aveerim et roah hagezeirah - repentance, prayer and tzedakah remove the evil of the decree. Prayer is a great gift from G-d. That the Divine allows human beings, full of sin to approach Him and beseech Him is something we are to be most grateful for. Like many a gift we often do not appreciate what we have been granted. For many prayer is a burden, an obligation that we think we...Continue Reading »
Rosh Hashanah: Do I Need to Pray?
"On Rosh Hashanah, we read 'on the seventh month on the first day', and the maftir reads, 'is not Ephraim my precious son'; and some say we read 'and G-d remembered Sarah', and the maftir with Chana (Shmuel 1,Chapter 1-2). And now that we have two days, on the first day, we do like 'some say', and on the morrow, 'and G-d tested Abraham'; and the...Continue Reading »