Rosh Hashana 5783: Our Annual Coronation of Hashem as Our King and Creator of All and Re-commitment to Refinement and Teshuvah

Shalom Friends;

Our Rosh Hashana vort is being sponsored by Avraham and Miriam Deutsch of Efrat who dedicate Special L’Shana Tova wishes for our brethren, the former residents of Gush Katif, as well as wishing Zahal and Kol Am Yisrael L’Shana Tova! To the Deutsch family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Rosh Hashana 5783: Our Annual Coronation of Hashem as Our King and Creator of All and Re-commitment to Refinement and Teshuvah

by Moshe Burt

This year, the first day of Rosh Hashana 5783 begins on the evening of Yom Sheini (Sunday Evening). And each year, with Rosh Hashana, we re-coronate, Hashem as Our King, the Creator of All existence.

This author has managed to keep quite a few “handout vorts” from years past and a vort caught the eye last year which is worth repeating, entitled “The Main Point” which is cited from the sefer, “Growing Each Day,” by Rabbi, Dr. Abraham J. Twersky, MD, Z”l:

Rosh Hashana marks the day on which man was created, and that was the sixth and final day of Creation….

To understand this…, one must understand what Hashem’s “works” really are. He did indeed will millions of details of Creation into existence for the five days preceding the appearance of man on the scene. But were these his “works?” If an artist spends a few days purchasing paints, canvases, brushes and easels, setting up his studio and adjusting the lighting, would one call these achievements his works? His works begin when he puts brush to the canvas.

Man is Hashem’s brush, with which He effects His Will in the world. Everything created before man, from the amoeba to the supernova, is there to enable him [man] to fulfill his Divine purpose — to put himself in the Artist’s [Hashem’s] Hands [as it were] and make himself an instrument of Hashem’s works.

Three years ago, we discussed the parsha of Yitzchak’s birth:

“Hashem had remembered Sarah, as He had said; and Hashem did for Sarah as He had spoken. Sarah conceived and bore a son unto Avraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which Hashem had spoken. Avraham called the name of his son who was born to him — whom Sarah had borne him — Yitzchak. Avraham circumcised his son Yitzchak at the age of eight days as Hashem had commanded him.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 21, posuk 1-3 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Rosh Hashana Machzor)

Following on Rabbi Twersky’s analogy of man as Hashem’s “brush,” with which He performs His Works, seemingly, Avraham Avinu evolves as the paradigm for the evolution of the Jews and Judaism and our unbreakable connection to Eretz Yisrael. And so, on the first day of Rosh Hashana, we learn of the birth and circumcision of Yitzchak and the Halacha of circumcision to which the Jews have clung throughout our history.

Every year, on the second day of Rosh Hashana, we read the Parsha known as the Akeidah: the binding of Yitzchak for slaughter, which is found near the conclusion of Parshat Vayeira (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 22, posukim 1-19). This bring us to a question: What does the Akeidat Yitzchak have to do with Rosh Hashana?

Torah relates the beginning of the section on the Akeidah:

” And it happened after these things that Hashem tested Avraham and said to him, ‘Avraham,’ and he replied, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Please take your son, your only one, whom you love — Yitzchak — and go to the land of Moriah; bring him up there as an offering upon one of the mountains which I shall tell you.” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 22, posukim 1-2 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Rosh Hashana Machzor)

This author excerpts from “The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah” (Nusach Ashkenaz, pages 402-403) which provides background commentary of the events of the Akeidah:

Avraham and Yitzchak demonstrated their willingness — indeed their eagerness — to make any sacrifice to comply with Hashem’s will… (According to Pesikta Rabbasi #40), [the Akeidah] took place on Rosh Hashana.

The Shofar of Rosh Hashana is customarily made of a ram’s horn to recall the merit of the Akeidah, because a ram was substituted for Yitzchak on the altar. In return for Avraham’s superhuman dedication to Hashem, he was given the promise of survival of the Jews and triumph which sustains us to this day. The tefillot of Rosh Hashana are filled with references to the Akeidah, so central is its place in [Judaism].

This section [the Akeidah] constitutes the very reason for Israel’s existence in Hashem’s eyes…. and accordingly warrants a more penetrating study than other areas. (citing Abarbanel)

Rambam [explains] that the Akeidah… portrays the extent of Avraham’s fear of Hashem. …Avraham finally was rewarded with a child who, he was promised, would become the father of a great nation… Yet, as soon as he was commanded to slaughter him [Yitzchak], he [Avraham] set aside all considerations and undertook to comply with Hashem’s command, not out of fear of… punish[ment], but because it is man’s duty to love and fear Hashem. That is why the angel told him, “for now I know,” i.e., your action proves that you truly deserve to be called a G’d-fearing man, and all people shall learn from you the extent of the fear of Hashem.

Ramban explains: Since man has full charge over his own actions, the concept of trial, refers to the perspective of the person being tested. To Hashem, the outcome was not in doubt. Nevertheless, He imposes the trial in order to translate into actuality the latent potential of the person being tested so that he can be rewarded for the actual deed, not only for the good intention…. Thus, all trials described in the Torah are for the benefit of the one being tested.

And so, the “Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashana” (Nusach Ashkenaz, pages 402-411) continues its commentary describing the chain of events of the Akeidah — the Sages’ depiction of the emotional intensity of the participants: Avraham’s mixture of joy — for fulfilling Hashem’s Will, and sadness that, apparently, his beloved son was to die; and Yitzchak’s request for secure binding out of fear that, in his youthfulness, he might involuntarily, reflexively jerk and injure his father, or injure himself rendering him unfit for sacrifice or cause his father to be unable to perform the ritual properly.

The commentary (ibid, pages 406-408) continues with the account of the melochim (the angels) appealing to Hashem invoking Avraham’s merits — his hospitality to strangers and his proclaiming to them that Hashem is the Source of all blessing, as well as the birth of a child, in Avraham’s merit, to Sarah in her advanced age, and thus promising Avraham that his progeny will be father to a great nation. Was this promise now to be broken?

And so, in response:

“A Meloch of Hashem called to him [Avraham] from Shemayim… and he said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad nor do anything to him, for now I know you are a G’d-fearing man, since you have not withheld your son… from Me.'” (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 22, posuk 12 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashana)

Thus, the story concludes, with a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns, being offered as a korban instead.

Again this author asks, what does the Akeidat Yitzchak have to do with Rosh Hashana? Can the main or only reason that we leyn its Parsha on the second day be, as Pesikta Rabbasi teaches, because the Akeidah took place on Rosh Hashana?

In Kiddush and in Bentching (Grace after Meals), we refer to Rosh Hashanah as Yom HaZicharon (Day of Remembrance) and one of the attributes of the day is the Coronation of Hashem as the Sovereign King of All.

To cite the “Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashana”overview, (page XVII):

Hashem’s Sovereignty is the primary theme of Rosh Hashana and the Ten Days of Judgement it [annually] inaugurates. The service of the day is filled with references to Hashem as King with prayers longing for the day when His mastery will be acknowledged by all human beings.

So, just as this author cited Rabbi, Dr. Abraham J. Twersky’s analogy above of man, as Hashem’s “brush” for creation, it would seem then, that Avraham’s supreme dedication to Hashem would serve as a paradigm for Am Yisrael, and ultimately for the nations, of serving and following in the ways of our Divine Creator, The Sovereign over All. And so, it seems that leyning the Parsha of the Akeidah on the secord day of Rosh Hashana serves to strongly connect us to a recognition of Hashem’s Kingship and Dominion over all. May it be, that Am Yisrael soon, truly and completely serves as Hashem’s “brush” of creation, as Hashem wants.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he is now in his second year at home in Eretz Yisrael. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of eight years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

May You, All of My Brothers and Sisters, be Inscribed and Sealed for another Year of Life… Now and always! L’Shana Tova!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.