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Simcha Groffman

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Rosh Hashanah

Coronation Day

"Can you see anything?"

"If I stand on tippy-toes I can."

"What do you see?"

"It's magnificent. The King is sitting on his throne in his royal garments. Silk, gold, jewels, everything sparkles."


"Above his head is the royal crown."

"I can see that. It's gold, velvet, diamonds and emeralds. It sparkles like the sun."

"Now they are lowering it onto the King's head. The official Royal Coronation. It is beautiful beyond words."

¶Rosh Hashanah is the ultimate coronation. Today we crown the Holy One, Blessed Be He, King over the world. All of the royalty and pageantry of the royal coronation is expressed in the prayers of the day . . . "The King Who desires life..." "The Holy King." Yet, the idea seems a bit abstract. What has changed, now that Hashem is King? The Nesivos Shalom zt"l concretizes this idea with a passage from the Zohar HaKadosh. Every person must crown Hashem King upon every limb of his body. Today, every action that I perform, every step that I take, must be according to the word of Hashem. That sounds like a very tall order. How is it possible? "I am sick with love" (Shir HaShirim 2:5). There is an expression called lovesick. A person loves someone so much that they cannot stop thinking about them. This is a Jew's relationship with Hashem. We are lovesick over Him. This is what we can achieve on Rosh Hashanah.

Kinderlach . . .

Today is a glorious day. All of the beauty, pageantry and splendor of the Royal Coronation is reflected in the tefillos (prayers). Say them with great kavannah (concentration) and joy. Crown Hashem king over yourself. You are his servant to do His mitzvos, with a love in your heart so strong, that you are lovesick over Him. You can't stop thinking about Him, and about ways to get close to Him. That is the way to begin the new year.

We Are Royalty

"Nosson, where have you been? I haven't seen you around for the past couple of days. You look a little different."

"Meir, I have been in the most extraordinary place."

"Where? Tell me all about it."

"I went to the home of the Godol HaDor (foremost Rabbi of the generation)."

"Wow, that is unbelievable. How did you get there? What was it like?"

"It was too wonderful to describe. He is such a tzaddik. Being with him was so inspiring. It was like being in another world. I wanted to absorb as much of his holiness as I could during my visit. I was focused on him all of the time. I forgot all about myself and just thought about him."

"You look like a different person, Nosson."

"I feel like it, Meir."

Rav Nosson Meir Wachtfogel zt"l, the Mashgiach of Lakewood, explains that this is the avodah (service to Hashem) of Rosh Hashanah. We have to realize our greatness. We are royalty, exalted above all of the mundane things in the world. The yetzer hara tries to bring us down. On Rosh Hashanah, we are invited to the palace of the King. Come, stay for two days. Leave your mundane affairs behind. Forget all about yourself and think only about the King. Recognize Hashem's Kingship, accept it, and be exalted by it. This is the avodah of Rosh Hashanah, and this is the theme of the prayers of the day.

Kinderlach . . .

The King is here. We are privileged to be in His palace. It is not proper to think about ourselves in the King's presence. "He bumped into me in shul." "He was served dessert before me." "She gets to sit next to Imma instead of me." Try not to make a big deal about these things on Rosh Hashanah. On these two days we put our own interests aside and think only about Hashem. We should all merit to be written and inscribed for a good year.

One Band

"And may they all form a single band to do Your will with a perfect heart," (Amida prayers, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). This is the second step in preparation for receiving a good judgment on Rosh Hashanah. Rav Chaim Friedlander zt"l compares this "single band" to the "banding together" of the lulav on Succos. The lulav consists of four different and unique species, lulav (palm), hadassim (myrtle), aravos (willow), and esrog (citron). Yet they are bound together, each with its unique capabilities, to accomplish a common goal. So too, all the nations of the world will ban together for a singular purpose. What is that goal? "To do Your will with a perfect heart." Not only will our minds be united with a common sense of purpose, but even our hearts and our emotions will become one.

The Alter of Kelm zt"l explains that every individual should be apprehensive about the judgment he will receive on Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish people as a nation, however, will be judged favorably. Therefore, if an individual is connected to the leaders of the nation, or if he is working for the welfare of the nation, he will receive the same favorable judgment that the nation receives. Those who teach Torah or care for the needs of the poor and other needy people are key members of the community. They will be judged with the community, and not just on their own merits.

Kinderlach . . .

The ideas of unity and working for the community are connected. When you give to others by helping them out, you strengthen the bond between you and them. If a person helps two people each day, that is fourteen people a week, sixty people a month, 730 people a year! Someone who helps 730 people is an indispensable person! He will certainly receive a good judgment on Rosh Hashanah. Look at how many people are depending upon him! The same holds true of those who teach Torah and distribute charity. Let us do what we can now to help others. And let us set a goal for ourselves as we grow older to always try to teach and help as many people as we can. May we all merit to be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

Kinder Torah Copyright 2008 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman

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