Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The proof of God’s existence lies in His invisibility. For it is superhuman to have done so much good for so many people for so long and forever remain anonymous – so anonymous that we have the option, if we choose, to deny His very existence.

Every day of our lives, and on Rosh Hashanah in particular, God looks to us to make Him visible in this world and to crown him as a King. On Rosh Hashanah God asks us to recite for Him verses of kingship and to crown Him as a King.


But if God reigned as King before the world was created, why does he need His creatures to make him King?

This question is similar to another one that is often asked. According to tradition, Rosh Hashanah celebrates the beginning of creation: “Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the beginning of God’s creation, a remembrance of the first day.”

If that’s the case, Rosh Hashanah should be celebrated on the 25th of Elul, which was the first day of creation, not on the first of Tishrei, which was the sixth day of creation and the day that Adam was created.

Clearly, God is unhappy with Divine dictatorship. He craves voluntary acceptance. Voluntary acceptance is worthless, however, unless it comes from those who have the power to reject God. It is only human beings who have been given that freedom of choice.

And so Rosh Hashanah is set on the day of our birthday, the day that celebrates the creation of Adam, who, though given freedom of choice, chose to acknowledge God and publicize His reign over the world.

But what can we possibly do to coronate God? It is not as if we can pray or study Torah all day. We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Enter the shofar. The same shofar that proclaimed the answer to this question at revelation. The shofar proclaimed a Torah that is written for humans, not for angels. The Torah recognizes that we must eat, sleep, and work. But we must eat kosher, recite the Shema before going to sleep, be honest and charitable in business, and of course we must pray and study Torah whenever we can.

The Torah, like the Sabbath, accepts us for what we are and condones what we must do to exist, but lifts us and our mundane activities into another sphere where we sanctify the profane and glorify His Name.

On Rosh Hashanah, we, as God’s scouts on earth, coronate Him by providing Him living proof that His risky experiment of fusing body and soul is successful. God created us as a composite of the lowest form of existence, the dust of the earth, and the loftiest form of existence, the breath of God. He injected an untainted soul into our stain-prone body and He waits a lifetime to see in what condition we shall return that souls to Him.

The Ba’al Shem Tov tells a story of a king who lived with his beloved child whom he decided to send out into the world to gain experience and benefit from the wisdom of others. And so he gave his child a generous allowance and sent him on his way, hopefully to return wiser and better. But the child quickly spent the allowance on luxuries and temptations and became stranded in a foreign land with no money to return home.

In time, the child forgot the king’s language and way of life, yet desperately wanted to return home. And so he set out by foot on the long road of return until he arrived at the palace gates. But the king’s guards did not recognize the child and could not understand the language he spoke. In the agony of rejection, the child let out an unintelligible piercing cry. In the palace, the king felt a bolt race through his heart as he recognized the voice of his returning child.

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Raphael Grunfeld received semicha in Yoreh Yoreh from Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America and in Yadin Yadin from Rav Dovid Feinstein. A partner at the Wall Street law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Rabbi Grunfeld is the author of “Ner Eyal: A Guide to Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zerayim” and “Ner Eyal: A Guide to the Laws of Shabbat and Festivals in Seder Moed.” Questions for the author can be sent to [email protected].