Eruv Rosh Hashanah
By Rabbi Dr. Meir Tamari
We read, “ There was no Man [yet] to till the ground” (Bereishit, 2:5) and
Rashi explains that when Adam came and realized that they, the rains, were
essential, he prayed for them and they came down so that all the trees and
the grasses grew and flourished. “The whole world is built on acts of
loving kindness” (Tehilllim, 89:3), and only Hesed operated in the world
at the time of Creation, as nobody existed who could arouse spirituality
from below. Even the creation of Adam himself was pure Chesed since only
after that it is written, “ And Hashem took Adam and placed him in Gan
Eden to cultivate and protect it” (Ber.2, 15). This now added another
spiritual dimension, “ To cultivate by means of mitzvoth asei and to
protect by means of mitzvoth lo ta’asei” (Zohar (Part 1,27); the former
brings down the Divine bounty from on high while the latter removes the
evil forces, that is the whole purpose of our spiritual labor.
“This day is the anniversary of the start of Your Handiwork, a reminder
of the first day”(Musaf Rosh Hashanah), for on the 25th of Ellul the world
was created and on the1st of Tishei Adam was created. From the 25th of
Ellul till the 1st of Tishrei everything existed only through the Chesed
of Hashem and so every year, during these days, we strive to arouse Divine
Chesed by our slichot of the 13 Divine Attributes. However, on Rosh
Hashanah there occurs a change that corresponds to the change in the world
after Adam; before he was created, as we have seen, there was only Chesed,
afterwards he had to bring down Divine bounty through his own efforts.
This additional perspective shows in the order of the shofar on
RoshHashanah, that is divided according to the same criteria.
“They blow the shofar and sound it in joy when they are seated and they
blow the shofar and sound it in joy when they are standing” (Rosh
Hashanah, 16a). The tekiot demeyushav are a memorial of the creation till
and including Adam. Just as “ [He] breathed into his nostrils the breath
of life and Adam became a living soul”-which the Targum translates as
a ‘speaking soul’, so these sounds of the shofar enter our hearts and
influence us till we too become souls speaking of Hashem’s chesed. Then on
the basis of this spiritual power that is generated from on High, the
tekiot deumad can become the symbol of our crowning Hashem through our own
efforts by malkhuyot, zichronot and shoforot. Now the evil forces can be
dispersed. That explains the continuation of the Gemara, “in order to
confuse the Satan”. He is confused by the speaking soul that is cleansed
of sin that we received through Tekiot demeyushav and our consequent
efforts anointing Hashem, through malkhuyot, zichronot and shoforot.
Therefore we silence those who interrupt or cause to break the sequence in
any way between the tekiot, so that we can draw spiritual strength from
the speaking souls that were created at the beginning.
So every person should know that we do not have any ability or effrontery
to proceed to say malhkiyot without the chesed that Hashem first bestows
on us. “For who am I and what is my people that we should be able to
gather strength to offer You anything? For all things come from You and
only of Yours do we give You. (1 Chronicles, 29:14).
Our custom is to gather together on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and to
intensify our saying of shelichot because it is the last chance to do
teshuvah before the year ends- “If not now, when?” However, there is an
additional reason, according to all that we said above.
“Rabbi Yochanan said, that the angels were created on the second day,
while Rabbi Chaninah the son of Rabbi Yochanan held that they were created
on the fifth day. The name ‘angels’ represents messengers and they are
meant to bring the Divine plenty down from on High, so it is appropriate
that they were created on the second day as the world was continuously
spreading and becoming material and it was fitting that this be through a
messenger of the Divine plenty. Yet there are angels who give praises and
sing them to Hashem, bringing of the world below to on High and these were
created on the 5th day together with the mobile creatures. Even were we to
say that the angels of song are the same as the messengers, we could say
that they only got the power of song on the 5th day, together with those
“On the 5th day, they said, ‘Sing joyously to Hashem, our strength’
(Tehilllim, 81:2), because on that day were created the birds and the fish
that sing to Him” (Rosh Hashanah, 31a). To this Rashi comments, that when
one sees all the diverse birds, one gives praise to He who created them.
This is hard to understand, since surely when one sees all the great
variety of plants, foliage and grasses that were created on the 3rd day,
surely one should equally be stirred to praise their Creator? However, on
the 5th day were created those creatures that they themselves offer song
to Hashem, so their power to move us also to song is greater. The birds
are in the heavens far above and like them, the angels who spread wings
and fly. So on the 29th of Ellul that corresponds to the 5th day of
creation, we multiply our songs and our selichot, even as it is said, “One
should always first offer praise and then pray” (Avodah Zarah, 7:b), that
is, “ to hear the song and the prayer” (1 Kings, 28:8).
Shem Mi Shmuel, Zachor Brit, 5671
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Meir Tamari and Torah.org.
r. Tamari is a renowned economist, Jewish scholar, and founder of the Center For Business Ethics (www.besr.org) in Jerusalem.