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Friday, September 30, 2005

The Day is Approaching

Rosh Hashana is approaching rapidly, and there's never enough time to do Teshuva. With all the Selihot said (and I've been saying them since Rosh Hodesh), I always feel like I need more time to prepare. What criminal defendant, or defense attorney for that matter, wouldn't like more time to prepare?

In the Haftarah of Parshat Vayeshev, we find this verse:

אִם-יִתָּקַע שׁוֹפָר בְּעִיר, וְעָם לֹא יֶחֱרָדוּ

Shall a Shofar be blown in a city, and the people not tremble?
(Click here to listen to the verse)

Of course, this verse has connotations for Rosh Hashana - with the sound of the Shofar causing trembling before the Day of Judgement.

There is, however, another connotation here. The Ben Ish Hai writes that this verse can also be referring to the End of Days before the Ge'ula. We know of another verse that talks about a Shofar:

וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִתָּקַע בְּשׁוֹפָר גָּדוֹל, וּבָאוּ הָאֹבְדִים בְּאֶרֶץ אַשּׁוּר, וְהַנִּדָּחִים בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם; וְהִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוָה בְּהַר הַקֹּדֶשׁ, בִּירוּשָׁלִָם.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great Shofar shall be blown; and they shall come that were lost in the land of Assyria, and they that were dispersed in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
(Click here to listen to the verse)

The Ben Ish Hai says that when we know that the Ge'ula is so close, will we not be Hareidim Lidvar Hashem (trembling in carefulness to G-d's word)? Will we not improve our performance of Torah and Mitzvot when the Great Shofar is at our doorstep? The Ben Ish Hai wrote this over 100 years ago. We are so much closer today.

On Rosh Hashana, astronomers tell us there will be a solar eclipse over Eretz Yisrael and other parts of the world.
The Gemara in Sukkah 29a (at the end of this link) brings down Beraitot w/ differing opinions on eclipses. (See here, where R' Nosson Slifkin quotes R' Yonatan Eybeschitz, who says the Gemara is not referring to eclipses, but rather - sunspots). The Beraitot differ on whether a solar eclipse is bad for the Jews or not. Let's pray this Rosh Hashana that it is not. We have had enough troubles this past year.

Let's truly hope that this year will be a year of secrets and revelations, as Rav Kaduri said.

And finally, let's do our best to do Teshuva this New Year, and as the poet writes:

תכלה שנה וקללותיה ... תחל שנה וברכותיה

Let the year and its curses end ... Let the [new] year and its blessings begin.


At Sat Oct 01, 11:22:00 PM 2005, Blogger Batya said...

Just perfect Erev Rosh Hashannah post.

At Sun Oct 02, 01:58:00 AM 2005, Blogger Cosmic X said...


May your and yours be written and sealed for a good year!

At Sun Oct 02, 09:52:00 AM 2005, Blogger yaak said...

Thanks, muse.

Amen, Cosmic. Vechen Le-mar.


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