As Americans prepare to vote, allow me to hold up a banner with the words of the wisest man ever. The words are those of King Solomon (Koheles 1:9): “What was will be, what was done will again be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
Hoshana Rabbah is, according to tradition, the day the judgment of Yom Kippur is sealed and finalized. There are some changes in the morning prayers. We circle the bima seven times with our lulav and esrog and then we put them down and take five aravos and beat them on the synagogue floor as if to say, “These are being beaten instead of me.”
You know, it’s amazing. Here we stand before the Heavenly Judge, asking for a year of health for our families and for the nation plus everything else good. That’s what judgment day is for all of us. The unique text of the liturgy for the High Holy Days begins with the daily Ata Kadosh – You are holy…and “holy ones [that’s us] praise you daily.”
As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the ten days of repentance, and the awesome day of Yom Kippur when our judgment is sealed for the coming year, it’s so important for me to tell my readers how much I love the Ribbono Shel Olam, the Master of the Universe.
In Israel today there is a new generation whose members may not be outwardly observant but who are intrinsically religious and have the utmost respect for the Torah and its scholars.
We’ve just read the Torah portion about Pinchas, an amazing tzaddik who performed an unusual act instinctively and for the sake of Hashem and His honor.
Let me tell you how special it is to live in Eretz Yisrael. The other day I decided it was time for me to say the entire Book of Psalms – Tehillim. I’m the father of ten children and fifteen grandchildren (b’li ayin hara), so the power of Tehillim is where I turn, for my family’s needs.
Here we are again – Shavuos, the yom tov commemorating the giving of the Torah, God’s greatest gift to mankind. If someone were to say to me, “It’s unbelievable that Hashem gave us His amazing Torah,” I would respond, “That’s the wrong way to put it. ‘Unbelievable’ means ‘not to be believed.’ The correct expression is, ‘It’s beyond belief’ – meaning more than belief. Hashem loves His charming nation beyond words.”
My father had gone to the hospital to get a simple procedure to clear the arteries. The procedure failed and the doctor made a terrible mistake in what he did next. The botched effort caused my dad to have not one but two heart attacks.
I’d like to offer the following question: At the Pesach Seder we read about the four sons – the wise, the wicked, the simple and the one who does not know how to ask – but where is the righteous son, the tzaddik?