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.Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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