Friday, September 22

May Your New Year be Sweet

Tonight is Erev Rosh Hashanah, the first day of of the New Jewish Year. Tomorrow begins the year 5767.

Unlike the secular New Year, this holy day does not mark the beginning of raucous celebrations. It begins, or rather continues, a period of intense personal reflection that will conclude in ten days with the end of Yom Kippur. It is during this period when Jews believe that Hashem inscribes our fate for the coming year. It is a time of t'shuvah and tzedekah (repentance and charity).

At the conclusion of services on Sunday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, (not tomorrow, as it will be shabbos), we hear the shofar. Midrash tells us that the sound we hear will, at least symbolically, be blown through the horn of the same ram that was sacrificed in place of Yitzhak on Mount Moriah. Interestingly enough, the torah portion we read tomorrow will be the Akeidah, or the Binding of Yitzhak; one of the most challenging sections of any theology.

In this parasha we learn of Hashem's instruction to Abraham to sacrifice his son, only to have that command belayed at the last possible moment; just as the knife was speeding to Yitzhak's throat. This loyalty to Hashem was rewarded by our people being bound to Hashem.

I have always had a great deal of difficulty reconciling the Abraham we read about in this parasha with the patriarch we read about earlier in Breishit. The Abraham who argues and debates with Hashem over the lives of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gemorrah only pages later is willing to sacrifice his own flesh and blood with neither argument nor comment? What lessons can we take from this seemingly blind loyalty?

I offer no answers here, just questions. Maybe I will have more thoughts after yontif.

L'Shana Tova Tiketavu!

4 comments:

Mike said...

Best wishes to you, Wendy, and the rest of the family for a kesivah vachasimah tovah, for a year of good health, success, nachas, peace and security/ May you and your be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to celebrate the new year with a quality glass of beer; can you make a recommendation? Is kosher beer available in Great Falls?

david said...

Best wishes to you & the family on Rosh Hashanna!

Dave Budge said...

Aaron, to you, yours and all of my frum friends,

My your holiday be sweet and the year filled with joy and kindness.