web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Judaism » Torah »

In The King’s Presence

Niehaus-091412

Share Button

We all know that there are some synagogues that, unfortunately, only reach full capacity several days a year. There is something about these days that arouses even many unaffiliated Jews to attend High Holiday Services. In fact, each one of us also feels the holiness, and it helps us to be on our best behavior. We make sure to come on time to davening and we daven slower than usual. We are extra careful in our observance of halacha and how we treat the members of our family. Indeed, in Shulchan Aruch (OC Siman 603) we find that during the ten days of repentance, even those who usually eat “Pas Palter” (i.e. bread from a non-Jewish bakery that is kosher), should now be stringent and refrain from doing so. However, a thought may sneak into our minds – is this all just a game? Who am I kidding? Hashem knows exactly how I have been acting until now, so why should I put on a show?

But in truth, this approach is our salvation, as the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16b) states. “Rav Yitzchok said, a person is judged according to his actions at that moment. As it says concerning Yishmael, ‘ki-shama Elokim el-kol hana’ar ba’asher hu-sham – because Hashem has heard the boy’s voice, there, where he is’.” Rashi cites the Midrash Rabba that before Hashem caused a well to miraculously appear in order to save Yishmael from dying of thirst and fever, the angels in heaven protested. “How can You perform a miracle to save the one who’s descendants will cause Your children to die of thirst?!” To which Hashem answered, “since at this moment he is a tzaddik; I will not look at anything else.” On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem also judges us based on how we are at that time. Our past is not examined, nor our future. However, all this is quite perplexing. We all know that in a normal judgment the judge takes every fact into consideration. Why on the great Day of Judgment does Hashem ignore everything besides the present moment?

The Costume Or The “Real McCoy?”

Let us explain with the following parable. There was once a successful Jewish businessman named Getzel who had many dealings with non-Jews. On Shabbos he would don his streimel and bekeshe and walk down the street. “Hey Getzel,” one of his business associates called out to him. “What is that rabbit doing on your head? I thought you were from our day and age – not one of those Jews from the shtetel!” Greatly humiliated, Getzel lowered his head and ran home. This continued week after week until he decided to stop wearing his special Shabbos clothing. When he went to his Rebbe, though, he was too embarrassed to show that out of shame he had forsaken the ways of his forefathers. He would take out his streimel, dust it off and once again look like all the other Chasidim. One year he decided that this game had gone on long enough and he will show the Rebbe who he really is. When he came to the Rebbe for a brocha, wearing his weekday clothing, the Rebbe exclaimed, “Getzel, what happened to your Shabbos garb?” “Rebbe,” answered Getzel, “I’ll tell you the truth, this is how I always dress on Shabbos. I decided that it is time to act honestly and show you who the real ‘me’ is.” “Getzel, Getzel,” chided the Rebbe, “do you really think I didn’t know how you dressed every Shabbos? But until now I thought that Getzel in a streimel is the real Getzel and all year long you were dressed up. Now you tell me that the opposite is true!?”

This is what the above Gemara is teaching us. Even though we may have distanced ourselves from Hashem all year long, and not acted as befitting sons of the King, there is hope. If on this day we raise ourselves to where we are supposed to be, we will have shown that until now it was just a costume, and now the real “Me” is showing. Hashem will therefore judge us favorably, as we now deserve special treatment. True, we still need atonement for our past sins, but we will deal with them during the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur.

However, this is easier said than done! How do we instantaneously remove the costume we have worn all year long?

The Theme Of Our Prayers

The venerable Mashgiach of the Lakewood Yeshiva, Harav Nosson Wachtfogel zt”l, would constantly reiterate that Chazal have revealed to us through the prayers of the day, what our approach should be on Rosh Hashanah. We all would have thought that on the day when our future is being decided, Shemoneh Esrei would be filled with requests for a good year. However, other than some small insertions, this is not the case! The main theme of our prayers is to beseech and request of Hashem to reveal to the entire world that He is the King of all Kings, and the true Master of the Universe. We speak about His Glory and Majesty and how great it will be when the whole world will see it! Why? Because on Rosh Hashanah we enter a different realm – the King’s inner chambers!

In a previous article (Entering The King’s Palace 8-10) we described how on Rosh Chodesh Elul the doors of the King’s palace swung open and we entered. We waited in the antechamber for the terrifying moment when we will pass one by one in front of the King. And now it has arrived! Our conduct now befits one standing in the King’s presence. In front of the King we think twice before each thing we do, making sure that it is exactly according to His Will. But even more importantly, we forget about ourselves and our past. All that interests us now is the King and His sovereignty, and all we ask for is that His Rulership should continue forever and ever. And this is our hope and salvation. When we show Hashem our true colors, that all that interests us is to fulfill His Will, He will bestow on us all the tools and benefits needed to be able to do so. Good health, happiness, tranquility, parnasah and much more will be sent our way, for all these help us to live a life of Torah and Mitzvos. We certainly do not lose out by not asking for ourselves.

This is the way to take off the costumes we have worn all year long. The many customs and laws of Rosh Hashanah all work together to create a royal ambiance. We blow the shofar as a symbolic coronation of the King. We adorn the shul with magnificent white tapestries and coverings. We sing majestic lyrics and melodies during davening and recite verses of “Malchiyos – Kingship” in the Musaf prayer. Let us use this atmosphere to imagine ourselves in the presence of the King of the Universe. It will help us to act our best for every moment of these days, the time when we are being judged.

And it will help us to show our true colors, and thus merit a K’siva V’chasima Tova.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at kollel.zay@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “In The King’s Presence”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus
Niehaus-040414

When Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, we received not only a physical freedom but also a spiritual one.

Niehaus-030714

Such a misunderstanding would render our words worthless, for we would not be declaring that Hashem is truly the Master of the Universe.

Friday night corresponds to Shabbos Bereishis – therefore we discuss the creation. Shabbos morning corresponds to the Shabbos when we received the Torah, so in Shachris we mention that. And finally, Shabbos afternoon corresponds to the Shabbos of the World to Come, so in Mincha we talk about the Oneness of Hashem, which will be clearly revealed at that time.

First let us explain what shira is. Rav Shimshon Pinkus zt”l writes (She’arim B’Tefila, page 65) that shira is when we relate praises in a detailed manner, as opposed to zimra, where we praise in a more general way.

On the ninth of Teves Ezra HaSofer was niftar. The Gemara (Megilah 15a) tells us that Ezra was actually Malachi – the last prophet. With his passing, the glorious era of nevuah, prophecy, came to an end.

Why is it so important to sing specifically during the seudah? If we understand this minhag and how to fulfill it, we will discover an amazing new aspect of Shabbos.

The special days of Tishrei have come and gone. But hopefully, we managed to elevate our level of spirituality so that we now feel closer to Hashem, even if just a little bit. I think that now is the right time to approach an extremely mystical aspect of Shabbos.

Every Shabbos we look forward to the delightful seudos where we enjoy delicious food and drinks, sing zemiros, say divrei Torah, and spend wonderful time with our families. This coming Shabbos, Yom Kippur, will be quite different. We will spend most of the day in prayer and repentance, begging Hashem to forgive us for our sins, and we may forget that it is also Shabbos. However, from the fact that we ask for forgiveness “on this day of Shabbos,” we see that there is an integral connection between Shabbos and the atonement of Yom Kippur.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/torah/in-the-kings-presence/2012/09/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: