YomTov, Vol. I, # 36
Rosh HaShana: The Epitome of G-d's Kindness
By: Rabbi Yehudah Prero
The meaning of the
words Rosh HaShana literally is "Head (beginning) of the year." However, this
holiday carries much more significance than merely being the day on which a
new calendar becomes necessary.
The Sefer HaChinuch explains that Rosh HaShana is the day on which the whole
world is judged. Each individual creature is judged as an individual. This
judging has been compared to sheep passing in single file under the watchful
eye of the shepherd. Just as each sheep is scrutinized alone, separate from
the flock, so too are we judged on Rosh HaShana, as individuals, separate
from everyone else.
Why do we have a day of judgment? The Sefer HaChinuch explains further that
this holiday on which we are judged is truly a kindness of Hashem. Hashem,
because we have this yearly holiday, reviews our deeds yearly, thereby
preventing our sins from amassing. As we "only" have to deal with our sins
one year at a time, there is still room for repentance and atonement.
Furthermore, as Hashem judges us with kindness, if there are few sins, they
are pardoned. If there are sins for which punishment is needed to cleanse the
person, the punishment is exacted in small doses, bit by bit. If the
accounting of our deeds did not take place on a yearly basis, our sins would
accumulate until the point that Hashem would decide to end the existence of
the world, because of all the evil and disregarding of His words.
Rosh HaShana is the day which ensures the continued existence of the world.
It is therefore fitting to have this day as a holiday. However, as this is
the day on which we are judged, it is only proper that we conduct ourselves
on Rosh HaShana with a level of fear and awe not seen on other festivals.
This is the reason why we do not say "Hallel" (a special prayer of praises of
Hashem): It is not fitting for a person to sing songs of praise while
standing in judgment.
Check out all of the posts on Elul and Rosh HaShana. Head over to
http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/ to access the YomTov Page. Then click on the icon for the holiday of your choice.
For questions, comments, and topic requests, please write to Rabbi Yehudah Prero.
KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:
The Basket Too Has Holiness
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766
Even Just "A Little Sin"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771
Leave it Up to the King
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764
Next year in a Fully Rebuilt Jerusalem
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771
Shofar: The Court Summons
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766
Respect for the Dead
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5763
Personal and Communal Growth
Shlomo Katz - 5761
Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757
Rabbi Frand on Rosh HaShana
Month of Elul: The Power of Repentance
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758
Past, Present, and Future
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763
Poor Beginning, Wealthy End
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760
Yankel - Cast Down Your Load!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758
The Essence of Jewish History
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773
Fighting our Yetzer Haras
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770