Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Confusing the Satan

We blow shofar every weekday of the month of Elul except the day before Rosh HaShana (even if Rosh HaShana would fall on a Shabbos and we wouldn't be blowing).  On Rosh HaShanah we blow a long blast at the end.  The Mishna Brura says that one of the reasons for both of these is because it confuses the Satan. I sure hope the Satan doesn't see that Mishna Brura!  Good thing we all have that secret code on the beis medrash combination locks; I am sure the Satan will never figure out that Aleph means 1, Beis means 2, Gimmel means 3, etc.

On the other hand, feel free to bring the Satan in to the beis medrash (in fact, Chazal says that's exactly the way to properly deal with the Satan) and learn up this Mishna Brura with him.  The Satan will still be confused by our behavior.  I realized this a few years ago when a fundamentalist xtian fuming about homosexual churches.  He figured that he surely had an ally in me, so he said, "They take verses from the Bible completely out of context and interpret it their own way to prove their own crooked opinions!"  I agreed that was terrible.  I agreed when he said that anyone who does that is obviously not after the truth.  After a few minutes of my enthusiastic agreement with everything he was saying, my friend paused and said, "Wait... you think that's what we do..."  I just smiled as he sputtered and stammered; and finally he just walked away talking to himself.

You know what confuses the Satan?  Living up to Reality.  Putting the desires of the Creator first.  Of course we all make mistakes, but on Rosh HaShana when it comes time to publicly announce our allegiance to the King of kings, HaKadosh Baruch Hu there is no wiggle room.  We blow the shofar for a month to awaken our hearts to t'shuva.  Then, lest anyone think we are doing what we think it is a good idea, we stop.  That way we get to enjoy hearing the blasts on Rosh HaShana because HaShem said to hear them, not because we thought of it.  We eat a festive meal on Rosh HaShana because we have trust that Our Father, Our King will love us enough to accept our t'fillos.  Lest anyone think we are just eating like any other Yom Tov; we stop and blow the shofar once more to show that we are going to eat a meal decreed by the Creator of the world, who is our King.  That really confuses the snoggers out of the Satan.  And no matter how many times it happens, he just never gets it; but we do.

K'siva v'Chasima Tova!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…