Rosh Hashana 5784: Our Annual Re-Coronation of Hashem as Our King and Creator of All

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 5784: Our Annual Re-Coronation of Hashem as Our King and Creator of All

by Moshe Burt

In Mussaf of Rosh Hashana, nestled in-between Unsoneh Tokef and Kedusha, there is a short tefillah for which, in Israel and in some locales in the United States, the niggun that we sing reminds this author of tunes sung in unison at nationally televised College Football half-time shows. But this short, lively niggun leads into Kedusha by exemplifying the simcha and spirit of Rosh Hashana — Our annual Re-Coronation of Hashem as Our King and Creator of All.

Ein Kitzva [Click on the link] immediately follows our proclamation; “V’Ataw Hu Melech Chai V’keiyam” — “But You are the King, the living and enduring G’d” :

“There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your Glory and elucidate Your Name’s inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.

Act for Your Name’s sake and sanctify Your Name, for the sake of the glory of Your revered and hallowed Name, according to the counsel of the holy Seraphim [Melachim], who sanctify Your Name in the Sanctuary [Mikdash]. [The Melachim] who dwell on high together with [the people] who dwell below proclaim the sanctification in three-fold measure in the Sanctuary [Mikdash].” (Rendered to English in the Artscroll Rosh Hashana Machzor, Nusach Ashkenaz, page 485)

The Artscroll Rosh Hashana Machzor, Nusach Ashkenaz provides explanation of our proclamation above and the tefillah of “Ein Kitzva” (ibid, pages 484-485) :

“Ein Kitzva… V’Ein Keitz” — There is no set span and there is no end. The paytan [author of this piyut] draws a sharp contrast between feeble, transient man and infinite, Almighty Hashem. The first two phrases — “no set span and no end” mean almost the same thing, but with a slight difference. A set span refers to a specific length of time; thus we say that Hashem has no ‘life span’… [i.e. Hashem is infinite]. An end refers to a deadline: Thus we say that Hashem’s existence is endless. In effect, therefore, these two poetic phrases mean to say that Hashem has no beginning and no end, a restatement of Rambam’s fourth principal of faith.

“Mirk’vod K’vodecha — The angelic chariots of Your Glory” — A chariot is the means by which Hashem’s glory is displayed in Creation. Thus, for example, the Patriarchs were called the chariot because their righteousness was a demonstration of Hashem’s will and greatness. As the beings that carry out Hashem’s will in the world, the Melachim, too, are His chariots.

“USh’meinu Kahrahtah V’Sh’mecha — And You have included Your Name in our name” — The last two letters of Yisrael — Aleph Lamed, a Name of Hashem. Additionally, in naming families of Jews (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing Bamidbar, Perek 26) the Torah adds the letters of Hashem’s Name Yud Hei to their names, Hei as a prefix and Yud as a suffix: i.e. the offspring of Shaul are called HaShauli. Moreover, the fully spelled letters of His Name are the same as those of Yud Hei Vav Hei — Yehudi — Jew.

This author has managed to keep quite a few “handout vorts” from years past and this vort caught the eye and is worth repeating in keeping with the topic of this year’s vort. Entitled “The Main Point.” this vort 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.

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 Hashanah, 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 Hashanah?

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 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 Hashanah.

And so, the “Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah” (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)

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

This author asks, what does the Akeidat Yitzchak have to do with Rosh Hashanah? 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) on Rosh Hashana, 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 Creator and the Sovereign King of All. And we give thanks for all of His Creations, as we express appreciation for having given us the Yom Tov Seudot.

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

Hashem’s Sovereignty is the primary theme of Rosh Hashanah 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.

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 in his third year at home in Eretz Yisrael and has embarked on a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and 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 nine 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.