Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Yom HaDin -- Knowing Who You Are

There is a famous question: Why does the Day of Judgement come before the Day of Atonement?  Wouldn't it be better to first achieve atonement, and then go to court?  Surely things would go better for you.  Moreover, wouldn't is make a lot more sense to be judged at the end of the year for last year's mistakes rather than the  beginning of the year when I haven't made any (ok, haven't made many) mistakes yet?  Moreover, do I really need a court trial to find out if I am guilty?  If that were the intent of Rosh HaShana, we would have the shortest services in history.  Everyone would walk into shul, say "ashamnu" (we are guilty), everyone would answer "amein"; then we'd go home to have our last meal before being executed.  Yet, on Rosh HaShana, we don't mention guilt or even sin at all.  Instead we prepare for the day with a haircut, put on are finest clothes, proclaim HaShem our King, and enjoy festive meals.  Sounds more like having a personal audience with the King instead of going to court.

In fact; it is. Rosh HaShana is two days of living up to what we really are: members of the Royal family and living in the Palace.  We spend all our time for two days in avodas HaShem and constantly proclaiming that HaShem is our King.  Not a ruler who we have to obey, but our beloved King who we are honored to serve.  Some people have the beautiful minhag to say all of sefer t'hillim to express every possible emotion on this most exalted of days.  The seven days after Rosh HaShana are spent in critical examination of ourselves.  Not to beat ourselves up over past indiscretions, but to have an accurate appraisal of the raw material we have available.  It is an established custom to keep some extra stringencies during this week to help remind us and keep us focused.  Then comes Yom Kippur, when we are so completely engaged in making our road map for the year that we forgo even eating.  Finally, n'ila -- which culminates in consciously turning ourselves to the nuts and bolts of executing our plan of action for the year to build ourselves into that vision we created on Rosh HaShana.

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: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…