Ki Tavo(Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
Ki Tavo 5761
GOOD MORNING! Rosh Hashana begins Monday evening, September 17th! Many Jews all over the world are rushing to make sure that they have places reserved in their synagogues. I am reminded of the story of the person who had to deliver a very important message to a man in synagogue on Rosh Hashana. The usher wouldn't let him in because he didn't have a ticket. "Please, I just need a moment to tell him the message!" "No way!" says the usher, "No ticket, no entrance!" "Please," begs the man, "I promise ... I won't pray!"
Q & A: WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF ROSH HASHANA AND HOW DO WE OBSERVE IT?
Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year. Unlike the secular New Year which is celebrated in many parts of the "civilized" world by partying, drinking to excess and watching a little ball descend a tower in Time Square, the Jewish New Year is celebrated by reflecting upon the past, correcting one's mistakes, planning for the future, praying for a healthy and sweet year and celebrating with holiday meals.
Rabbi Nachum Braverman writes, "On Rosh Hashanah we make an accounting of our year and we pray repeatedly for life. How do we justify another year of life? What did we do with the last year? Has it been a time of growth, of insight and of caring for others? Did we make use of our time, or did we squander it? Has it truly been a year of life, or merely one of mindless activity? This is the time for evaluation and rededication. The Jewish process is called "teshuva," coming home - recognizing our mistakes between ourselves and God as well as between ourselves and our fellow man and then correcting them."
On Rosh Hashana we pray that we are inscribed in the Book of Life for life, for health, for sustenance. It is the Day of Judgment. Yet, we celebrate with festive meals with family and friends. How can we celebrate when our very lives hang in balance? Ultimately, we trust in the kindness and mercy of the Almighty ... that He knows our heart and our intentions and with love and knowledge of what is best for us, will accordingly grant our decree.
At the festive meal both nights of Rosh Hashana it is customary to dip the Challah, specially braided bread, as well as an apple, into honey symbolizing our hopes for a sweet year. There is a custom to eat various Symbolic Foods -- primarily fruits and vegetables -- each one preceded by a request. For instance, before eating a pomegranate, "May it be Your will ... that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate." Many of the requests are based on "plays on words" between the name of the food and the request. Since these "plays on words" are lost on many who don't know Hebrew, there are those who have added their own requests. My favorite: before eating a raisin on a celery stick, "May it be Your will ... that I receive a raise in salary."
Another custom is Tashlich, a symbolic casting off of transgressions. It is done this year on Tuesday after the Mincha, or afternoon prayers. Remember -- these symbolic acts help you relate to what you need to do in life, to awaken your emotions and passions; they are not an end in themselves. It is worthwhile to get a copy of the Rosh Hashana Yom Kippur Survival Kit to get a better understanding of the holiday, the prayers, the prayer services and the opportunity that is afforded to you to grow in spirituality, to come closer to the Almighty, to perfect yourself and to perfect the world! It is available from your local Jewish bookstore or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242.
FEED THE POOR OF JERUSALEM!
Hundreds of families in Israel are unable to afford groceries for Yom Tov (the holiday). This group gives them coupons redeemable only for food. They arrange with the supermarket to get an extra 10% on every dollar you give them. I know they are legitimate and I give them ! Send your tax-deductible contribution to: Keren Y&Y, 805 Roosevelt Ct. #1-S, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Portion of the Week
This week's portion includes: Bringing to the Temple as an offering the first fruits of the Seven Species special to the Land of Israel, Declaration of tithes, The Almighty designating the Jewish people as His treasured people (Deut. 26:16 -19), The command to set up in the Jordan River and then on Mount Ebal large stones which had the Torah written upon them in 70 languages, The command to have a public ratification of the acceptance of the Law from Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal; The Torah then sets forth the blessings for following the Law and the curses for not following it, and concludes with Moshe's final discourse.
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states, "And He brought us to this place and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Deuteronomy 26:9). Rashi, the great commentator, explains that "this place" refers to the Bait Hamikdosh, the Temple in Jerusalem. The question arises: Why isn't the order the other way around? Since the Israelites entered the Land of Israel much before they built the Temple, the land should be mentioned first!
Rabbi Naftoli Tzvi Berlin of Volozhin explains that the Bait Hamikdosh was a spiritual benefit and the Land of Israel was a physical benefit. When we express our gratitude to the Almighty we should do so in the order of importance of the things for which we are grateful. Therefore, we thank Him for our spiritual blessings before our material ones.
This, too, should be our order of priorities in our thinking and behavior. Our spiritual needs should be uppermost in our minds. This will have practical ramifications should there be a conflict between our spiritual and material well-being.
CANDLE LIGHTING - September 7:
(or go to http://aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:52 Hong Kong 6:17 Honolulu 6:24
J'Burg 5:39 London 7:16 Los Angeles 6:53
Melbourne 5:45 Miami 7:16 Moscow 6:51
New York 7:01 Singapore 6:49
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Experience is what you get
when you don't get what you want.
Happy 3rd Anniversary!