Thursday, December 26, 2013

392 - Rosh Hashana

Rav Wolbe writes (Ma'amerei Yemei Ratzon pg. 388) that the avodas hayom of Rosh Hashana is "to confuse the Satan." In other words, we are to contest the erroneous assumption that the yetzer hara is made out of steel and there is no way to overcome him. From all of our tefillos on Rosh Hashana which revolve around the Final Redemption, there is one thing that should become clear: Evil is not an invincible entity. When Hashem reveals His glory, "all evil will dissipate like smoke." Our objective is to leave Rosh Hashana with a true belief that the evil in the world can and will be destroyed, and that the evil within us i.e. the yetzer hara, can also be vanquished. It might take time, but with Hashem's help and with the strength of the Torah we can conquer him!

Yet, interestingly enough, on Rosh Hashana itself we often sense the yetzer hara arousing feelings of rebellion inside of us. Sometimes one feels that it is more difficult to concentrate on the tefillos on Rosh Hashana than it is on a regular weekday! Why is it that on the day which Hashem reveals Himself most clearly, we find the most difficulty in connecting to Him?

This phenomenon can be explained as follows. Chazal tell us (Shabbos 88a) that when Bnei Yisroel stood at Har Sinai, Hashem lifted the mountain above their heads to force them to accept the Torah. The Gemara continues that since this was the case, Bnei Yisroel could always excuse a laxity in their performance of mitzvos since they were forced to accept the Torah. Acceptance with a gun to one's head cannot be considered a completely genuine acceptance. Nevertheless, the Gemara concludes that in the days of Mordechai and Esther Bnei Yisroel reaccepted the Torah wholeheartedly.

It is clear from Chazal that a forced acceptance is not completely genuine, and can sometimes engender feelings of rebellion. Who knows if the golden calf did not come as a result of their forced acceptance? In contrast, when one accepts something willingly, no feelings of rebellion are aroused. If one feels forced into davening on Rosh Hashana, he might feel a counterforce from inside. However, if one approaches the tefillos with a sense of happiness that he has the ability to accept upon himself the yoke of Hashem, he will not experience any resistance. 

The truth is, we definitely have what to be happy about."That he has not made us like the nations of the world and not made our portion like the portion of their masses." "For we know that true dominion is before You." 

"Praiseworthy is the nation who knows how to blow the shofar, Hashem, they will walk in the light of Your countenance!" "In Your Name they will rejoice all day and in your justice they will be uplifted." If we approach Rosh Hashana with a positive outlook - that there is nothing in the entire world greater than accepting Hashem's Kingship - we will b'ezras Hashem merit a Kesiva V'Chasima Tova and a year full of spiritual and material bounty!

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