ערכים - יהדות וסמינרים
Arachim Branches Worldwide Arachim Branches Worldwide
About Us Your Questions Events Pictures Video and Audio Home Articles Donate
Home Articles Holidays THE ``CONCEALMENT FACTOR``
Articles on subject
THE MONTH THAT MAKES IT OR BREAKS IT
.
THE MOST CRITICAL MONTH OF THE YEAR
.
WHAT IS A LIST FOR?
Arachim
AGAINST ANGER
Arachim
THE ``CONCEALMENT FACTOR``
.
More Articles
THE ''CONCEALMENT FACTOR''
.
A key to understanding Rosh Hashanah.

 

If we had to single out the one day on our Jewish calendar which is most crucial for us, most critical for our future, we would probably point to Rosh Hashanah. It is, of course, the day on which our role in the coming year's scenario is decided. G-d examines our performance to date, and determines whether we deserve another year, or whether we have perhaps completed (or flubbed) our "assignment" here on earth. And if our verdict is death, He also determines the means.

Now, we would expect that a day of such signal importance would be clearly identified in the Torah. Furthermore, there is no mystery about the other Holidays. Passover, we are told is the anniversary of the Exodus; Shavuos is the anniversary of the Revelation of the Torah at Sinai; Sukkos commemorates the shelter which G-d provided the Jewish People in the Wilderness; Yom Kippur is the day of spiritual cleansing and return, the Day of Atonement.

But when it comes to Rosh Hashanah, the Torah is strangely silent. We are told simply that is "a day of sounding the (ram's) horn" (Num. 29:1). Only from the Oral Tradition and our mystical sources do we get an understanding of Rosh Hashanah as the annual Day of Judgment.

Why the Mystery

To begin to get a handle on why the Torah does not identify Rosh Hashanah as such, we do well to recall a veiled reference to the day in Psalm 81: Blow the shofar at the New Moon, at the concealment (of the moon) on our Holiday…"

We know that the verse is talking about Rosh Hashanah since this is the only Holiday which falls on the "New Moon," the first day of the month.

The term to notice here is "concealment." Not only is the identity of Rosh Hashanah concealed in the Torah, but the Psalmist's allusion to the day underscores the element of concealment. He speaks of Rosh Hashanah as a time of concealment – alluding to the fact that the moon is 99% veiled on the first day of the lunar month.

Clearly, concealment itself is crucial to the way in which the Creator passes judgment on Rosh Hashanah.

The Entire Picture

In his code of Jewish Law, the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides notes that G-d does not simply "count" our merits and demerits, our mitzvos and sins, in judging us. Some of our mitzvos may be more weighty than others. Some of our sins may be more severe than others. Eating outside the Sukkah, for example, is not as severe as desecrating the Sabbath.

And of course, G-d looks beneath the surface of our deeds. He takes our intent into account, as well as the relevant circumstances – extenuating and otherwise. He knows exactly what motivated our $10,000 donation to Important Cause X, or what thoughts ran through our head when reciting Important Prayer Y.

We would note parenthetically that in this realm of "Mitzvah quality," baalei teshuvah (newly observant Jews) have a certain advantage. They naturally come to the performance of mitzvos with a freshness and enthusiasm that the children of religious parents often lack.

Yet, the judgment of Rosh Hashanah takes into account still another factor. This is Maimonides' intent, apparently, in his concluding statement that only G-d knows how to reckon our merits against our demerits. The statement seems superfluous at first glance in light of Maimonides' earlier remarks about the unique "weight" of each of our actions. Once each action is weighed by the Divine Intelligence, then surely the outcome of the calculation is straightforward.

But things are not so simple, as the Midrash helps us understand. The Midrash traces the exile of King Tzidkiyahu and the destruction of the First Temple all the way back to the time of King Solomon – specifically to the wedding of Solomon with the daughter of Pharaoh.

Regardless of Solomon's salutary motivation – the strengthening of the Jewish Commonwealth; and regardless of the fact that Pharaoh's daughter had converted, the Midrash insists that the seeds of our national undoing were planted here. The marriage introduced an ever so subtle acceptance of an alien culture and mind-set, as well as members of the royal entourage steeped in alien values.

On the other hand, the Midrash traces the glorious spiritual achievements of King Solomon – including his building of the Temple – all the way back to Avraham. Avraham had planted the seeds of the monotheistic revolution; he had searched for truth, and followed his discovery of the Almighty far from his father's home and all that was familiar. His initiative finally led to a permanent and public manifestation of the Divine Presence through the Temple.

In other words, the Midrash is telling us: first steps, correct direction, are absolutely crucial! Crucial to the future of our people, and equally crucial to each of us on the Day of Judgment. This is why the weighted system of judgment that Maimonides outlines does not yield an automatic verdict and why Divine Intelligence is also required to reckon our merits against our demerits.

While we may fall short in absolute terms, G-d is willing to take into account an additional factor in G-d's judgment of us on Rosh Hashanah – a factor hinted at both by the veiling of the Day's identity in the Torah, and the emphasis on the hidden moon in the Book of Psalms.

Of course, people do not change direction overnight. G-d knows that much, much better than we do. So he gives us some thirty nights and days – the entire month of Elul – to get moving!


No comments were received this moment
print
send to a Friend
add comment
Hot Topics - articles
Sabbath
Family Relationships
Tefillin
Child Education
Holidays
Elul
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
Sukkos
Chanukah
Tu B`Shvat
Purim
Pesach
Counting the Omer
Lag BeOmer
Shavuos
The Three Weeks-Tisha B`Av
Basics of Judaism
Life and After Life
Wit & Wisdom for Life
Jewish Perspectives
Success Stories
Torah Giants
Weekly Parasha
The Daily Tip
Mysticism and Kaballa
Science and Judaism
Prayer
Developing Your Personality
Reasons Behind the Mitzvos
Between Israel and the Nations
Faith and Trust
Outlook and Belief
Arachim Activities
Jewish current events
About Us |  Contact |  Your Questions |  Events |  Pictures |  Video and Audio |  Home |  Articles |  Donate |  Main Menu:  
Jewish current events |  General Questions |  Story for Shabbos |  ׳׳§׳˜׳•׳׳œ׳™׳” ׳™׳”׳•׳“׳™׳× |  Arachim Activities |  Outlook and Belief |  Sabbath and Holidays |  Faith and Trust |  Between Israel and the Nations |  Reasons Behind the Mitzvos |  Developing Your Personality |  Prayer |  Science and Judaism |  Mysticism and Kaballa |  The Daily Tip |  Weekly Parasha |  Torah Giants |  Success Stories |  Jewish Perspectives |  Wit & Wisdom for Life |  Life and After Life |  Basics of Judaism |  Holidays |  Child Education |  Tefillin |  Family Relationships |  Sabbath |  Pirkei Avot |  Subjects:  
RSS |  More: