Rosh Hashana – 5780 The Shofar’s secret!

Rosh Hashana is the Judgement day, where Hashem sits on the Throne of “Din” and judges every person. The Satan will be the prosecutor and our merits will speak in our defense. Any sober person, with just a little bit of Intelligence knows it’s a lost case. We won’t be able to win. We’re human we try to improve ourselves, but we fail to. So, what are we supposed to do, cry and beg mercy on our knees? It’s judgement day, our deeds are being scrutinized. Can a murderer get off the hook by crying and begging for Mercy to the Judge? Obviously not.

The real question is: Hashem the Creator of everything and the One that cares dearly for His People, how did He let such a setup take place where we cannot win? The Chafetz Chaim provides a wonderful parable: In a small village lived a grocer who made a living from his small shop, as he was serving the few villagers that lived there. To purchase merchandise, the grocer had to go every week to a nearby city to a wholesaler. He purchased there all the necessary merchandise he needed. Regarding the payments, the grocer would sometimes pay cash and other times would buy on credit. The wholesaler knew him he had no problem providing the credit required. Days passed, the grocer’s business slowed down and he was having difficulties paying his debt to the wholesaler. The grocer felt tremendous shame, so he stopped visiting that wholesaler altogether. if he happened to meet him in a street, he would immediately run away and disappear as fast as He could. The day came when the grocer could not avoid running into the wholesaler, which immediately asked him: “Why are you constantly avoiding me as if I’m your worst enemy? What evil have I caused you?” The grocer replied: “You have done nothing wrong to me. In the contrary, you’ve always been generous to me and never gave me problems to get a credit. Therefore, I was ashamed of myself and dreaded to face you. I have unpaid invoices, which I cannot repay because my business took a hit!” “On the contrary’ said the wholesaler, it is precisely the reason we should meet with each other and discuss a solution. If you go down, I lose, so in order to help myself avoid a loss I must help you. Therefore, you can take more merchandise in credit and when your business improves, pay me. In Elul Hashem turns to the Bnei Yisrael and tells them: “To flee from Me is not the solution, but if you return to me, I will return to you.” So, indeed the repentance was supposed to have taken place in Elul, but we kept pushing it away thinking we have time. In truth, it’s Rosh Hashana and we look at ourselves, Oy Vey, I have done no Tshuva, what will be with me and my family. Fear and depression set in. what do we do? The Kovno Maggid explains: In fact, even repentance because of awe and fear of punishment is an exalted Tshuva. In truth, we wish we could achieve even such a Tshuva. Though, any honest person is aware that he didn’t performed any Tshuva whatsoever, and some form of punishment awaits him. The Kovno Maggid gives a parable: a regiment of soldiers who were pursuing enemy soldiers for many days through mountain paths, mountain slopes, on hills and in forests. One day as they reached a thick forest they decided to stop and rest. The soldiers dismounted and tied their horses to the trees, gathered twigs, and lit a fire. They put a large pot on it to cook a hot soup to revive themselves. When the soup was ready, and they were about to start serving it, one of the officers sounded the alarm that the enemy soldiers were approaching at a fast pace. The bravest jumped immediately on their horses and galloped toward the enemy to fight them. There was a cowardly soldier who was not in a hurry to leave the delicious soup… He served himself a large plate and even filled his canteen with boiling soup … and then lazily mounted his horse to join the battle. As he began to gallop toward the field, some of the boiling soup dripped out of his canteen and splashed on the horse’s belly. Feeling the burning pain, the horse began a mad gallop straight into the enemy ranks. The soldier tried reigning in his horse but in vain. When the soldiers saw such a courageous soldier galloping straight into their ranks, fear and panic gripped them and rushed to flee for their lives in defeat. This lone soldier had decided the battle all by himself! One of the officers approached the “brave soldier” and told him: “Tell me, I have known you for many years, and I know that you are not truly brave, maybe you’re even somehow a coward. So, what happened today that you acted so bravely and all by yourself. Where did you get that courage from? Anyway, you deserve a medal of excellence from the king himself as you single handedly won the battle!” The soldier admitted with shame – Sir, you’re correct. I’m more of a coward than a brave. What happened today is not what it seems. I felt bad leaving behind the delicious soup we prepared, so I filled my canteen with it. Some dropped out and burnt my horse’s belly. The horse went into a mad gallop and was uncontrollable. I am not one of the brave, I was panicked and fearful and even closed my eyes when we approached the enemy.” The commander retorted: Then, you’ll get nothing, but the horse will be honored with a medal since because of him we won the battle. The Kovno Maggid says: A person who repents because of awe and fear, must be aware of the reason of his Tshuvah. The glory is really owed to his fear only not to him!!! Hashem knows that the last generation before Mashiach comes, even that kind of Tshuva is quite difficult for us. Everything in our live go very fast, so our focus is very short time, that’s how much we can honestly do. It’s obviously not enough, we’re paralyzed by fear, what will happen to us and our families. The Zohar says it is improper to serve Hashem with fear and depression. The way to serve Hashem is only with happiness and exaltation. The reason is: Being happy while serving Hashem triggers the above sources of “Simcha” [happiness] which will then shower us with blessings. As for our sins says the Rashash; if during the moments preceding the blowing of the Shofar a person truly repents, he will unleash the untold power of the Shofar. iAll his sins will be erased, even if he was liable to die, and even if he profaned CH”V the name of Hashem [which usually has no forgiveness]. The reason being: as one is in full communion with the Shofar [as the Shofar’s purpose is to make us repent] Hashem considers that the person sacrificed himself exactly as did Yitschak Avinu our forefather, therefore all his sins are deemed paid for. This is not too much do, let’s take a few moments before the blowing of the Shofar and truly repent, so only blessings and miracles will be decreed this Rosh Hashana. Please have mercy on others and inform them of the Holly words of the Zohar and the Rashash, so they can also be showered with blessings on Rosh Hashana. The people of Israel have suffered enough, it’s time for Mashiach! Amen.

Shana Tova

Rabbi Fridmann By Rabbi Fridmann * rabbifridmann@badatzmiami.com * 305.985.3461 Have A Question? Ask The Rabbi and he will Answer

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