Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Rosh Hashanah It Is Written ...

As I sat in Shul over the Jewish New Year, the Holiday of Rosh Hashanah, I found that one part of the liturgy hit me, really spoke to me. I confess that it is the same prayer every year that speaks to me (although perhaps a little more now that both of my parents have passed away).

We say that “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and that on Yom Kippur it is sealed”. We then continue on by asking how many shall be born and how many shall die, who by water and who by fire, etc. It is a powerful concept to think that our fate is sealed on Yom Kippur.

The prayer ends, however, with the notion that three things can set aside an evil decree, a bad judgment. They are: Repentance; Prayer: Charity. This concept is even more powerful. It actually means, at least my interpretation is, we have the power to override G-d’s decisions. G-d can seal our fate on Yom Kippur, but even after the holiday is over, if someone engages in true repentance, is true prayer and in acts of charity and or loving kindness, G-d can set aside the evil decree.

Obviously no one gets out of this life alive, so at some point you do not have an evil decree turned away. Of course, there are times when, as painful as it is to those who survive, death can be a blessing. Seeing a person stricken with a serious disease, living in pain, perhaps it is a blessing when they pass away. So even a decree of death does not have to be a bad judgment.

Still, it is my wish that all of you have a good, healthy year. I wish you all a Shannah Tovah O’Metocah (A good, sweet year), and as we approach the holiday of Yom Kippur, a G’Mar Hatima Tovah (that you should be sealed for a good year).

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