Rosh Hashanah is so close! I always worry that I didn’t do the work I needed to do. Life is just soo busy! But I remember one thing my late husband Gershon zt”l used to say to keep in mind for Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is about crowning Hashem King. But what does that mean? Do I envision some great leader on a throne with a crown on his head and me bowing in servitude towards him? Is this really the work that’s going to give me a better din on Rosh Hashanah? Seems so childish. Here I remember Gershon zt”l relaying the story of Akeidat Yitzhak as Rabbi Shimon Green used to tell it.
Sacrificing one’s son is an almost insurmountable test for anyone – let’s face it. But do we really understand what it meant for Avraham? Avraham was the pillar of chesed. The one who knew he was chosen to bring the world back to truth, acts of loving kindness, and justice. Who expected that his son Yitzchak would be the head of the great Jewish people through which all of mankind would achieve perfection. He was famous throughout the world. He was Mr. Kiruv himself! Everything he did brought people closer. He stood for G-d and goodness.
What would be of his reputation?
What would be of his role in the world? His whole life was devoted to showing people the goodness of G-d so that they would also serve G-d.
Now, he was not only sacrificing Yitzchak, but everything he had stood for amongst the masses. The next day the world would think he was a mad man and that his G-d a tyrant, chas v’shalom. It would turn everyone away.
And still, he did it – at the expense of his kiruv and life efforts – because G-d said so.
So we blow the shofar, the ram’s horn, on Rosh Hashanah, who was sacrificed in Yitzchak’s place.
This is what it means to crown Hashem King. We all follow Hashem in some ways. Some mitzvot are easy – how hard is it to smile at an old lady or take her hand to cross the street? But what about the mitzvot that are hard for us? What about the mitzvot that run counter to our beings or offend us in some ways? What about the mitzvot that just get in the way of our parnassa or what we want? We all have places that are our own potential akeidat Yitzhak. And it is davka in those places, that we are asked to truly crown Hashem King.
Here we need help, and pray “Hashem, please let Your will be my will”.
This Rosh Hashanah, pick one mitzva that is hard for you and do it anyway, just because G-d said so. There you will be crowning Hashem King where he was not King over you before. There you will G-d-willing earn a better din.
And if you need a little more zchuyot for this year (who doesn’t) and haven’t already done so, this is your last chance to send your prayer request for Tikun Haklali prayers at Rebbe Nachman’s kever in Uman on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
Hashem should bless you that your prayers will be answered and that all of Am Yisroel merit a good, sweet year of health, fulfillment, and success in ruchniut and gashmiut.