Category Archives: Festivals

Jewish festivals

Rosh Hashana Article Summary – R. Yemima

 From the article of Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi

Rosh Hashana

1) We’re in the amazing days of kindness before Rosh Hashanah. The five days before Rosh Hashanah are days of light, says the Ben Ish Hai; five days of immense kindness. He says those five days are more powerful than Rosh Hashanah itself, and why? Because they’re overflowing with unconditional kindness.

These are the days when Hashem created heaven and Earth, plants and trees, the sun and moon – and in whose merit? Man hadn’t even been created yet. Man was created on the first of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah.

Hashem made it all, free, says the Ben Ish Hai,without any person to earn all that good.Free kindness! You don’t need to earn it. You can request anything and everything. It’s a great segula to light five candles each day until Rosh Hashanah,corresponding to the five times the word “light” appears in the story of the Creation.

2) The “symbols” of the festival are good signs.

אוכלים שותים ושמחים ‐ They eat, drink and are happy, the Sages say in describing our behavior on Rosh Hashanah, because that’s a good sign. It’s an indicator of our optimism for a happy year; we have a festive meal of gratitude. Whoever is optimistic on Rosh Hashanah, and can see the abundance from Hashem to be expected in the coming year – that’s a good sign for the whole year.

So – capture your good desires in good words! And the most important word on Rosh Hashanah, especially at the meals – L’chayim!

The more L‘chayim – the more good wishes at the meal, the more effective.

Therefore, the most important thing that gives you life, says Rabbi Ziskind, is the Rosh Hashanah meal. When everyone comes back from shul, before you sit down, look one another in the eye. That look in the eye gives everyone extra years. When you look someone in the eye you can forgive him.

 3) What to do at shofar blowing

a. Compliment the shofar blower!

Opposite the blower stands the Satan himself. That’s why so many experienced shofar blowers are familiar with the experience of being completely unable to produce a sound. You have to send your support his way, because התביעה מבטשת בכסא הדין  the prosecution is knocking on the seat of judgment, as the Zohar says. A person has to stand to the man’s right.


b) Don’t talk during the shofar blasts!

 You’re in trouble if you do. Big trouble.

ולא כאותם אנשים, הפורקים מעליהם עול היראה,

למלאות פיהם שיחה בטלה בשעה שהתוקע מבקש על

נפשו בתחנונים… עד שיבלבלו אותו ואת שאר

‐ העומדים לבקש על נפשם, אוי לה לאותה בושה!

Unlike those people who cast off the yoke of reverence to fill their mouths with useless talk at the time the blower is seeking his very life in supplication…to the extent that they will confuse him and all the others standing there to plead for their lives – woe, for that shame! How can you possibly chatter wen Hashem is passing through the congregation during the shofar blasts? If a child talks – remove him at once without saying a word.

 c) Love your neighbor as yourself!

הריני מקבלת על עצמי מצוות עשה של ואהבת לרעך

כמוך , “I accept upon myself to love everyone here,” say before the shofar blowing. להיזהר מאד קודם מצוות התקיעה לאהוב כל איש כנפשו Be very careful, before fulfilling the commandment to sound the shofar, to love each person as oneself, commands the holy Shla”h. ‘ כי איך אפשר לבקש מה שיעבור על מידותיו, אם האדם הפחות לא יעשה כן? ולכן, באותה שעה, כל איש באחיו יודבקו ויחד יחזיקו

באהבה, ותהי זאת נחמתנו ומחיקת עוונותנו ‐ For how can one ask Hashem to bypass His strict measurement if lowly man cannot do the same? Therefore, at that moment, each man must cling

to his brother and hold one another in love; and may this be our consolation and the erasure of our sins.

 d) Cry! You must!

There are severe accusations standing in the way of your being inscribed in the Book of Life. Hashem doesn’t want to write your name because you’re not from the right ethnic group, and your grades aren’t good enough. That’s a big problem.

The only thing that moves Hashem at that moment is your  reaction to your pain.

Crying between the blasts is a powerful indication from the soul that it has been fixed. Whoever does not cry clearly does not have a good, complete soul.

And someone who suddenly, spontaneously bursts into tears, that is a sign that he is being judged in the heavenly court at that moment, and his soul is emotively reacting; that is why the tears come to him so spontaneously. It is best for him to repent immediately and wholeheartedly!

Anyone who has the merit to cry even a single tear during the shofar blowing, says Rabbi Ziskind, should wipe his face with the tears at once. With that one tear, wash your face quickly, and no harm will come near you all year. It’s like a screen shielding you from loneliness, illness, lack of livelihood and depression.