Rosh Hashana

Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Yosef Shemtov

While other nations celebrate the first day of their new year by drinking and partying, Benei Israel gather together in synagogue on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to pray to Hashem for a good and sweet year. We call our high holidays “Yamim Noraim,” meaning days of awe. This is because we realize our lives depend on how Hashem will judge us. Will we live or die? Will we be healthy or, G-d forbid, sick? Will we have good, sweet lives? Or will we have difficult, bitter lives? What should we do to merit a good judgment?

The rabbis tell us Hashem acts towards us in the same way we act towards others (mida keneged mida). If we are kindhearted to others, Hashem will be kindhearted to us. If we forgive others, so too Hashem will forgive us. If we are merciful to others, so too Hashem will be merciful to us. Therefore, if we accustom ourselves to judge others favorably and give them the benefit of the doubt, then Hashem will judge us in the same way.

In reality, we are the ones who can bring good judgment to ourselves just by being nice to others. When Hashem sees that we are not tough when dealing with others and we forgive them easily, then Hashem will act the same way towards us.

On behalf of the Yachad Rabbis, I would like to wish you and your family a meaningful Rosh Hashana and a good, healthy, and sweet year.

Rabbi Yosef Shemtov