On Rosh Hashanah, the Jews spread throughout the four corners of the earth and entered their houses of prayer. They beseeched G-d, "and inscribe us for a good year," and listened intently as the shofar was being blown.
On Rosh Hashanah, the Jews spread throughout the four corners of the earth and entered their houses of prayer. They beseeched G-d, "and inscribe us for a good year," and listened intently as the shofar was being blown. The heavenly court looked at their actions, but they were not enough to tip the scales for good and their judgment hung in balance.
During the ten days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, many Jews gave extra charity, asked forgiveness from one another, and prayed with extra concentration. Once again, the heavenly court looked at these actions, yet they still did not suffice and their judgment continued to hang in balance.
Yom Kippur arrives, the day the decree was to be sealed for the new year. Dressed in white, fasting, and praying, the Jewish people appeared to reach the level of the angels. Yet, once again, the scales were balanced. As the last blast of the shofar sounded that evening, there was commotion in the heavenly court. Such an occurrence had never happened. The books could not be sealed. Yet the facts spoke clearly on the one hand there were many positive deeds that the Jews had fulfilled in the course of the previous year, on the other hand, their transgressions were of equal status.
The months went by and the status quo remained. Even as Chanukah came and went, there were no redeeming factors to be able to finally close the books on the Jewish people's decree for the year.
The calendar rolled on to December 31st. The Jews gathered in their synagogues to say their evening prayers and to attend their Torah classes. As the clock was about to strike midnight there were still a few individuals immersed in their studies, oblivious to the late hour. Others were involved in a late night meeting to gather funds for the indignant. Several others were performing the ultimate kindness, attending to an individual who had just passed away and helping his family in their anguish.
Just then, the clock struck 12 times. For many in the world, their new year had arrived. This was the moment that they had been waiting for. They took one more sip from their inebriating drinks, blew their whistles, and began cheering for reasons they did not even know when they were sober.
At that moment, the heavenly court looked down and viewed the world true the Jewish people were lacking in some merits, but when their celebration of the new year several months earlier was viewed in comparison to what others were doing on their new year, they were suddenly viewed in a new light. . .and the books were finally sealed for a year of life, prosperity, and blessings.
Rabi Ariel Asa, an educator at Torah Day School and a practicing mohel, is the assistant editor of Torah from Dixie
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