Shabbat Shalom Weekly: Rosh Hashanah 5763
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Rosh Hashanah(Day 1: Genesis 21; Day 2: Genesis 22)

Rosh Hashanah 5763

GOOD MORNING!  Rosh Hashana begins this Friday evening, September 6th. Perhaps you know someone who doesn't find services inspirational, uplifting, moving? Perhaps they identify with the song titled "I've Got the Stand-up, Sit-down Prayerbook Blues"? Want to help them?

The best suggestion is to bring to services the Rosh Hashana Yom Kippur Survival Kit by Shimon Apisdorf (available in Jewish bookstores - or call toll-free 877-758-3242.) It will enhance the services by explaining the ideas and the prayers of the day and through giving insights into Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

The essence of Rosh Hashana is to recognize that God is King - the Creator, Sustainer and Supervisor. Our goal is to renew our relationship with the Almighty. Each of us must make our own accounting with ourselves as well as with the Almighty. What are we living for? Are our actions leading us towards our goals or away from our goals? What can we do better? What goal would be more worthy to live for? If you have trouble identifying what is important to live for, then ask yourself, "What would I die for?" Then, instead of dying for it, live for it!

Rosh Hashana is called the Day of Judgment. The day when we are judged for the next year - life or death, riches or poverty, sickness or health. The judgment is sealed on Yom Kippur. Hopefully, the thoughts below from the Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur Survival Kit will help you enhance your experience and accomplishments on Rosh Hashana.


Q & A: HOW TO SURVIVE SYNAGOGUE - OR HOW DO I MAKE MY SYNAGOGUE EXPERIENCE MORE MEANINGFUL?

  1. Five minutes of prayer said with understanding, feeling, and a personal connection to the words and their significance means far more than five hours of lip service.

  2. "Unfulfilled expectations lead to self-imposed frustrations." Therefore, don't expect to be "moved" by every prayer or to follow along with the entire service.

  3. Read through the prayers and slowly think about what you're saying and don't be overly concerned about being behind. Look, the worst that could happen is that you will fall behind, but don't worry, they'll probably announce the pages so you can always catch up.

  4. If a particular sentence or paragraph touches you - linger a while. Say the words over and over to yourself - softly, but audible to your ears. Allow those words to touch you. Feel them. And, if you're really brave, then close your eyes and say those words over and over for a couple of moments.

  5. You're not that proficient in Hebrew? Don't worry, God understands whatever language you speak. And, like a loving parent, God can discern what's in your heart even if you can't quite express it the way you would like.

  6. As you sit in your synagogue on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, you are joined by millions of Jews in synagogues all other the world. You are a Jew and you are making a powerful statement about your commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people!


SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT IN SYNAGOGUE OR DISCUSS AT YOUR ROSH HASHANA MEALS:

  1. When do I most feel that my life is meaningful?
  2. How often do I express my feelings to those who mean the most to me?
  3. Are there any ideals I would be willing to die for?
  4. If I could live my life over, would I change anything?
  5. What would bring me more happiness than anything else in the world?
  6. What are my three most significant achievements since last Rosh Hashana?
  7. What are the three biggest mistakes I've made since last Rosh Hashana?
  8. What project or goal, if left undone, will I most regret next Rosh Hashana?
  9. If I knew I couldn't fail, what would I undertake to accomplish in my life?
  10. What are my three major goals in life? What am I doing to achieve them? What practical steps can I take in the next two months toward these goals?
  11. If I could give my children only three pieces of advice, what would they be?
  12. What is the most important decision I need to make this year?
  13. What important decision did I avoid making last year?
  14. What did I do last year that gave me the strongest feeling of self-respect?
  15. When do I feel closest to God?
  16. Do I have a vision of where I want to be one, three and five years from now?
  17. What are the most important relationships in my life? Over the last year did those relationships become closer and deeper or was there a sense of stagnation and drifting? What can I do to nurture those relationships this year?
  18. If I could change only one thing about myself, what would that be?
  19. If I could change one thing about my spiritual life, what would it be?


Q & A: ROSH HASHANAH IS THE DAY OF JUDGMENT - WHY DOES GOD JUDGE US?

Life is serious business. Every action has its consequence. If God didn't judge us then there would be no justice in the world. From our perspective, if we feel that we are being judged, we are more likely to treat life seriously. We will then hopefully correct our mistakes in dealing with other people, ourselves and with the Almighty.

Judgment implies caring. If you don't care, you don't judge. We look at God's judging us as the ultimate expression of His love and caring about how we live our lives.


Torah Portion

Because the first day of Rosh Hashana occurs on Shabbat, the special Torah reading supersedes the usual weekly portion (which is thus pushed forward to next Shabbat). On the first day of Rosh Hashana we read Genesis 21 regarding the Almighty remembering Sarah and Sarah giving birth to Isaac. (The Almighty remembered Sarah on Rosh Hashana.) The second day of Rosh Hashana we read Genesis 22 regarding "Aikedas Yitzchak," the test of Avraham to prepare his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice; this, too, took place on Rosh Hashana.



CANDLE LIGHTING - September 6:
(or go to http://aish.com/candlelighting)

Jerusalem  6:21
Guatemala 5:52  Hong Kong 6:45  Honolulu 7:20
J'Burg 5:38  London 7:18  Los Angeles 6:54
Melbourne 5:44  Miami 7:17  Moscow 6:54
New York 7:03  Singapore  6:49



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

If you don't have a goal ...
you can't fulfill it.



Happy Birthday!
Eliezer Tzvi Fox
with great love!
Your Family

Published: September 1, 2002

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