Rosh Hashana 5774 – Gilayon #815


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Rosh Hashana – Parshat Ha'azinu

"May my mission upon which

i am embarking be successful"

(From the Meditation of the Shaliach

Tzibur before Musaf)



"Do not be quick with your mouth; do

not be hasty with your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and

you are on earth, so let your words be few. " (Eccl 5:1)


Ezra delineates the proper way to worship God, in his eyes. Firstly, Man should

have a permanent place of worship that he respects. Secondly, Man should praise

God at every moment, even though he is busy in his worldly affairs. He has been

given set times of prayer, evening, morning and afternoon which any simple

person can know by following the movements of the sun. Ibn

Ezra also comes out strongly against reciting piyutim

that are mystic and obscure and one does not fully comprehend. He mentions, in

particular, Rabbi Eliezer Hakalir,

an important composer of liturgy, who wrote mostly in riddles and parables. He

beseeches us to learn from King Solomon, who was the wisest of men, to keep our

prayers short and mindful. Ibn Ezra alludes to vanity

as being evil and that adding to the set liturgy indicates ignorance and

leading to transgression.

(Introduction to Parshat NitzavimRabbenu Behayei)


Happy new year

to all our readers, all of israel

and to all mankind

A year of

peace, justice and serenity

May this year

and its curses end and a new year with its blessings begin

May we be

inscribed in the book of life for your sake, the living god



What is jeremiah's

connection to the new year?

Yoel Kretzmer-Raziel

Although Rosh Hashanah

inaugurates a new yearly cycle, this holiday continues the liturgical cycle of

the previous year. Firstly, the month of Elul, is constructed as a prelude to

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur –the recitation of Mizmor

LeDavid, Slichot and the

blowing of the shofar – thereby arriving at Rosh

Hashanah within a specific context.


the haftorahs. As we know,

from the Shabbat after the 17th of Tammuz and up to the Shabbat

before Rosh Hashanah, the sequence of the haftorahs

changes. Three haftorahs of doom and destruction

precede Tisha B'Av, and

afterwards we have seven haftorahs of consolation.

The epicenter of this series is Tisha B'Av, with the many consolations tipping the scale. The

prophecies of consolation, all from the latter half of Isaiah, terminate before

Rosh Hashanah, and the stage is clear for a new context.

The haftorah of the second day of R "H, provides us with

an alternative outlook as to the place of R "H in the yearly calendar.

After we read about Hannah on the first day, we read Jeremiah's emotional

prophecy on the second – "found favor in the wilderness " (31:1).

The common assumption is that this haftorah

emphasizes remembrance. ("For as I speak, I will remember" 31:1)

This prophecy is considered a real prophecy of consolation. After seven haftorahs were chosen from a range of chapters of

consolation from the latter half of Isaiah, comes an

additional prophecy of consolation, albeit from Jeremiah – Jeremiah?? Consolation?? In fact, this haftorah

is part of a small and exceptional chapter in a book that was branded by our

sages as "devoted entirely to destruction" (B"B 14:72).

The choice of this haftorah for Rosh Hashanah creates

a continuum – continuation of the consolation sequence – and innovation – a

switch from Isaiah to Jeremiah. Yet more – a framework has been created: The

sequence of special haftorahs opens with two haftorahs of doom from Jeremiah (and more prophecies of

doom from Isaiah). Now we return to Jeremiah, with this haftorah

that alludes to the opening chapter of Jeremiah that we recited after the 17th

of Tammuz:


Jeremiah                                                                 Jeremiah


Thus said the                                                             Lord

Thus said the Lord

I remember the grace

of your youth,                          the

love of your betrothed Found grace in the wilderness

How you followed me in

the wilderness                     With everlasting love I love you

The return to Jeremiah

should be understood against the backdrop of the entire book. It is thought

that the formative events of the Book of Jeremiah occur on the eve of the

destruction of Jerusalem,

150 years earlier. According to the Book of Kings, after the Assyrian army

destroyed the kingdom of Israel, and exiled its inhabitants, and the rest of

the Judean cities were destroyed, the Assyrian army encircled Jerusalem. Against all odds, the angel of God

smote the Assyrian camp and Sanherib retreated to Nineveh. The miraculous

victory, with the support of Isaiah's prophecy (32:19), and with the

answering of Hezekiah's prayers in the temple, lays the background for Jeremiah's

suspicions. Jeremiah's struggle takes place in opposition to the accepted

belief that the miraculous rescue is a result of the prayers in God's house,

and that prayer is the answer to the threats to the Kingdom of Judea.

The hubris found in the Book of Deuteronomy ("My strength and my power

have prevailed") is tainted with over reliance in the temple and the

miraculous rescue, as well as the self-fulfilling prophecy. From the beginning

of his prophecy, Jeremiah is enabled to withstand the pressure from the kings

and the people, who hope that "good prophecy" can overcome the

threatening circumstances. Throughout the whole ordeal, Jeremiah refuses to

surrender to the enormous emotional and physical pressure put on him, almost as

an antithesis to Isaiah's prophecy during the Assyrian siege.

Isaiah has a threefold

worldview. There is no security in the temple per se; the society must improve

its ways in order to survive; there is a need to read the international

political map realistically and there is no point in rebelling against the

Jeremiah's cleverness

is expressed in his consolation. This is a melancholy consolation – "They

shall come with weeping, and with compassion will I guide them." (31:9),

with restraint, "Restrain your voice from weeping (31:16),

that emphasizes the negation of the destruction ("And they will mourn

no more" 31:11;

"Parents have eaten sour grapes and children's teeth are blunted"


"They shall never again be uprooted or overthrown" (31:40),

more than the abundance of good. This is how the prophecy differs from the

rose-tinted and optimistic prophecies of consolation of Isaiah that are read

before Rosh Hashanah.

The positioning of

Rosh Hashanah in this framework of the haftorahs of

doom and consolation serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it creates a framework

(doom in Jeremiah > doom in Isaiah > consolation in Isaiah >

consolation in Jeremiah), in which even the doom of Jeremiah is consoling.

Secondly, it gives

another meaning to Rosh Hashanah. We are not speaking about embarking on a

journey, but rather the zenith of the journey that began with the month of

Tammuz. In the familiar structure of 7+1, the haftorah

of R "H is presented the eighth and final segment of consolation. Thus,

the epicenter of the series of haftorahs of doom and

consolation shifts from Tisha B'Av

to Rosh Hashanah.

However, this

highpoint is qualified. Rosh Hashanah can console, but this consolation must be

controlled, reserved and cautious, also calling out, "Receive me back,

let me return "


Yoel Kretzmer-Raziel, a

member of Kibbutz Ein Tzurim,

teaches at Mercaz Herzog for Jewish Studies as well

as in other institutions. He is a doctoral student in Talmud at Ben-Gurion University.


Horn and shofar

The shofar has

two names: keren, a horn, for its physical shape, the

horny substance of which it is made, Shofar, as in

the inner space that illicit and moderates the sound.

In the beast, the horn signifies strength

and power. A beast directs all its weight when attacking through its horns. He

doesn't utilize the "inner " shofar of the horn. The people of Israel were

commanded to use this horn for a different purpose, a human imperative, a

Jewish imperative. Blessed is the nation that knows the sound of the shofar. By using the shofar, the

inner horn, and not the "outer horn ", the sound, not the power, we

change the sentence of the horn to the mercy of the shofar.

Although it is still necessary to use the

keren, the horn, in a world surrounded by raging

bulls, at every turn, we cannot rely on the shofar

alone. We are in need of a keren, a physical horn, to

protect us. We also pray for the revival of the "keren " the light of

your servant David, even though this is only a means to rekindle the light of

the son of Jesse as Messiah. A candle projects light in its path. It

influences, educates, elucidates and explains. The horn, the keren, however should defer to the inner shofar.

 (R. Jacob Ariel: The Shofar and its Horn, from: Ohalei

Torah, from the passage ממך אליך

from the R"H Machzor, Ed. By Yonadiv

Kaplon, p.139)


Rabbi Meir of Rotenberg would say "L'chaim with a shva rather than lachaim with a patah. L'chaim meaning

to life, and lachaim meaning for life, which is

actually from no life. He would say "to a good life, and build up

to "and inscribe us for a good life ", for one should first ask for

something small and then build up to something big, as in life itself. In

Psalms, David begs for forgiveness for sins made in error, then for

transgressions that were willful and only then grave sins. So righteous people

know how to please their maker, as it is said, "The lips of the righteous

know your will… "

(Tor Or Haim



The Sound of Teruah – Sob or Sigh?

The Holy One, Blessed Be He, Does Not Differentiate

Between One Cry and Another

Throughout the years

and in most of the Diaspora, there have existed doubts regarding the nature of

the teruah mentioned in the

Torah. Is it the wail of wailing women? Or is it a sigh,

such as that which a person sighs again and again when his heart is greatly

troubled? Or is it the two together, the sigh and the sob which usually follows

it, for this is the nature of one deeply worried, first he sighs and then he

wails. Therefore we execute all three.


Laws of Shofar 3:2)



shall observe a day of teruah" – and we

interpret this: You shall observe a day of sobbing." It is written in

connection with the mother of Sisera (Judges

5): "Through the window

peered Sisera's mother, behind the lattice she

whined." One [authority]

says she sighed, and another says she wailed.

(Bavli, Rosh Hashanah 33b)


Heavy sighing – As one who sighs heavily from his

heart, like sick people

Wailing – like a man who cries out and wails, short

bursts of crying.

 (Rashi, R "H



Said Rabbi Elazar: From the day the Temple was destroyed, the

gates of prayer have been shut, as is written (Eicha 3:8) "And when I cry and plead, He shuts out my prayer."

"Listen o heavens": Because Moses was close to heaven, he

said "Listen O heavens " because he was far

from the land, he said: "Let the earth hear the words I utter ". Isaiah

comes along and turns it upside down and said, "Hear the heavens and

listen to the land' (Isaiah 1). Listen to the heavens because he was far

from the heaven and hear the earth as he was far from the earth.

(Sifri Hazinu 306)


Heaven and earth are the

components of man

Man is composed of the

spiritual part which is symbolized by heaven and materiel parts expressed by

the earth. When God addresses the spiritual man, he uses the softer tones of

listen, but when he has harsh words to say to man , he

uses "hear " as in "the earth hears ".

(Ohr Hachaim Deut, 32:1)


But even though the gates of prayer were shut, the gates of tears were not shut,

as is written (Psalms 39:13) "Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my

cry; do not disregard my tears; for like all my forebears I am an alien,

resident with You."

(Bavli, B "M 59:71)



Our success is dependent on our spiritual

position and not in our military strength


can one have routed a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their

Rock had sold them, the Lord had given them up? "

(Devarim 32:30)



can one have routed a thousand" – If you do not

observe the Torah, how can I keep my promise to you? You asked that one of you

rout a thousand, and two, ten thousand; now one of the nations routs a thousand

and two, ten thousand.


their rock is not like our Rock" – the authority

which you give us is unlike the authority which you give them; when you give

them supremacy, they behave towards us with brutality, killing, burning, and

crucifying us.


our enemies are judges" – You had decreed for us

that a foe may not serve as witness or judge, as is written, "and he

not be his enemy" (Devarim 35)

– he shall testify; "and did not seek his harm" – he shall

judge him – but you appointed over us enemies to be witnesses and judges.

(Sifrei, Haazinu, Pesikta 323)



not Israel been forsaken by its Rock, had not the Rock of Israel wanted Israel

to be enslaved by the nationsand to this end, surrendered

Israel to their hands – had the conflict between the nations and Israel been a

struggle between the rock of the nations and the Rock of Israel, then not

Israel, but the nations, would have been defeated, Israel would not have been

vanquished. The rock of the nations cannot stand up to the Rock of Israel.

(Rabbi Shimshon R. Hirsch on Devarim




and upright is the Lord: the Option of

Correction is one of God's Graces 

Good and upright is the Lord.

How is He good? In that He is upright. How is He upright? In that He is good.

They asked wisdom: What is the sinner's

punishment? It said: Evil will pursue the sinners (Proverbs 13:21).

They asked prophecy: What is the sinner's

punishment? It said: The soul which sins shall die.

They asked the Torah: What is the sinner's

punishment? It said: Let him bring a guilt-offering and it will be atoned.


asked the Holy One, blessed be He: What is the sinner's punishment? He said:

Let him repent and it shall be atoned for him, as it is written: The Lord

is good and upright; therefore, He leads sinners on the way, [meaning] that He

shows sinners the way for them to repent


Shimoni Tehilim 25,




from Love and from Fear

Reish Lakish

said: Great is repentance, for it makes deliberate sins count as accidental

ones, for it is said, Return, O Israel to the Lord your God, for you

have stumbled in sinning (Hosea 14:2). A sin is deliberate, but he calls it a

stumbling block!


this be?

Did Reish Lakish not say: Great is repentance, for it makes

deliberate sins count as merits, for it is said, And when a wicked man

turns back from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by

virtue of these (Ezekiel

33:19). It is not a problem: Here [-the latter –

refers to repentance] out of love [of God], here [-the former – refers to

repentance] out of fear [of God].

(Yoma 86b)


Repentance raises a person up from all of

the low-places of the world, but even so, it is not a stranger to the world.

Rather, it lifts up the world and life with itself. It refines sinful

tendencies. The powerful will, which breaks through all limits and causes sin

is itself transformed into a living force that performs great and lofty works

for the good and for a blessing.

(From Rabbi A.I. Kook ztz"lAl



The repentance which brings about a

radical transformation of a whole way of life leading to a rebirth of the

personality is repentance of redemption; another type of repentance, unlike

this kind, is directed against a specific sin – it is repentance of expiation.

(Rabbi Joseph SoloveitchikOn

Repentance, Pinchas H. Peli,

editor, pg. 174)




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