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August 2020

We are now 40 days from Rosh Hashanah…

By | Blog

We are now 40 days from Rosh Hashanah. Scary thought – just 40 days.

 

 

So we should begin to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur. What exactly are we supposed to experience, what should our thoughts be. You know that the month before Rosh Hashanah is the month of Elul which is special on the Jewish calendar – 30-day preparation for Rosh Hashanah. Forty days is also significant. Like 40 days before a child is conceived, the angel announces the fate of that child. So some kind of judgement is announced 40 days before an event. So 40 days before Rosh Hashanah the judgements that G-d is going to give us is already beginning. It may be a distant, transcendent it may still be very subtle but it is real. And so the preparation for Rosh Hashanah in a sense begins. And that’s why we are already in the habit of wishing each other “to be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.” So if you write a letter and you sign off the letter you say “You should have a good year.” So yes, already Rosh Hashanah is starting to be real.

 

So a quick thought about Rosh Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah G-d considers his Kingship. Being the King of the universe. Our Father, Our King – big theme on Rosh Hashanah. Royalty, sovereignty, being a King. Now in the ideal reality of Torah, a King is a devoted servant of his people. He provides, He protects He defends his country and his people. When G-d created the world, He became the King of the world. On Rosh Hashanah every year, the anniversary of creation, G-d reconsiders being King over the world.  Meaning in a sense He has no choice ‘cause if He is not the King there will be no world and He wants the world to exist so He has to be the King. He has to continue to take care of his creation. But where is the pleasure in His kingship? So G-d is thinking, “Do I enjoy being King?” and He asks us “If you coronate Me, if you ask Me to be your King for another year, it will make being your king a pleasure. If not, I guess I’ll have to do it anyway, but it won’t be pleasurable.” According to Kabballah, the purpose of Rosh Hashanah is that we should reveal the potential pleasure for G-d in being King of the world…

 

So where is the pleasure in it for Him? The answer is, if there is a relationship between us and G-d, if we are excited about that relationship, it makes it enjoyable for Him and He loves His world. He loves being King – He gets pleasure from it…

 

G-d is very proud of His creation… beautiful. But G-d is telling us “If on Rosh Hashanah you say you don’t want, you’re not coronating Me, you’re not pledging allegiance to Me for another year and this relationship goes on, then I don’t need heaven, the earth… I have no pleasure in [nature], the pleasure is in you. So if we blow shofar and we coronate G-d and we tell Him you are our Father and You are also our King, and we are not quitting on you – don’t quit on us then all of creation becomes beautiful, meaningful, but without us …

 

This is very different from the secular view [where] we are the problem, we spoil nature … but it’s us – we are the ones who give G-d pleasure in His creation…

 

It’s our job to give G-d pleasure and nachus – in being our Father and our King – that’s Rosh Hashanah. So as we get ready for Rosh Hashanah – this should be our thinking. You look at all of creation – magnificent – what a venue for our relationship to unfold, to blossom. But it’s all about the relationship otherwise as beautiful as [the venue] is, it loses its significance and its appeal. We have an awesome power – G-d gave us that power to make His creation either pleasurable for Him or tedious. So we are not afraid that the world will end – its not going to end. But we dread the thought that G-d will continue creating us, maintaining us and the whole world, the universe without pleasure; we dread that thought. We don’t want to be drudgery for Him. We want our relationship to be exciting, full of pleasure, full of meaning, full of satisfaction – like a good marriage. So Rosh Hashanah – unlike Shavuot the anniversary of us receiving the Torah – that’s when the wedding actually happens. That was the wedding. Rosh Hashanah is choosing the venue and being pleased with the venue in anticipation of the wedding. So we have to make the universe – the creation pleasurable for G-d and we do that by making it the venue for our really special relationship. It’s all one theme – Rosh Hashanah, Shavuot, coming out of Egypt – it’s all one theme. It’s the development, the growth the deepening of a special relationship.

 

It’s a little different than the fire and brimstone version – “You better get your act together ‘cause G-d is going to judge His creation.” Yes, He is going to judge His creation. He is going to check it out to see if there is any pleasure left in keeping this world going. Of course we’ll make sure that there is. That’s our job.