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It rained yesterday - A simple Rosh Hashana Message

Thursday, 17 September, 2020 - 5:15 pm


It rained yesterday.  Well, it drizzled.  So what, you ask?  Let’s see.  It doesn’t generally rain in California at this time of year, and there was no rain in the forecast.  There are fires all around us, and the smoke has filled the air for a few weeks.  Last week we had a couple of days with twilight all day, literally.  We were scrambling to figure out how to have services on the holy days of Rosh Hashana.  Can’t do it indoors because of Covid-19, and now we can’t do it outdoors because of smoke.  The air has been extremely unhealthy or hazardous, meaning that you could not be outside, even with a mask, for more than a few minutes.  An index that I just learned about for air quality showed numbers of about 200, very unhealthy.  The forecast was for this to continue until after Rosh Hashana.  Yesterday morning, surprise of surprises!  It rained. And the air quality went to below 10!  Which is really good.  Nobody expected it.  Thank G-d.

So where am I going with all of this?  There are many deep and powerful messages for Rosh Hashana.  Every Rabbi is teaching them, and there are hundreds or thousands on the internet.  I hope you will do some studying over the next day or so to get a deeper understanding of the holiday.  You can start here.  But my message today is a simple message of hope and faith and looking forward to a bright tomorrow.  The Baal Shem Tov taught that the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana, when we read in the Torah “Atem Nitzavim Hayom - you are standing upright today,” this alludes to the great day of Rosh Hashana, and this is Hashem’s blessing to us that we will stand upright in judgment.  Meaning we will come out of the judgment with merits and positive blessings.  The Rebbe told us that this blessing does not have to wait until Rosh Hashana, but can begin in Elul even before the new year starts.  Well, here we are.  The new year has not begun yet, and already we are seeing fresh air that nobody expected, in the blink of an eye, when we woke up in the morning expecting to be enveloped in smoke.  

My message for Rosh Hashana is that Hashem is ready to give us goodness and great abundance.  The upcoming year will not be a repeat of last year.  I heard a great acronym for the Hebrew letters of the new year 5781 – Taf Shin Pei Alef.  The Yiddish word for “out” is “aroys” – in German it is “arous.”  Aroys begins with the letter Alef.  So Taf Shin Pei Alef means Taf Shin Pei (last year, 5780) aroys!  Last year with all its challenges and difficulties is behind us.  On Rosh Hashana, we stand before Hashem with faith and hope, praying for Him to give us a wonderful year with only happiness and success in all areas.

The message of Rosh Hashana itself is really all about simplicity.  The sound of the shofar is simple, no words, no fancy music, just the simple cry from the depths of the soul that says:  I am your child, I am your servant, give me the opportunity and the means to fulfill my mission for You.  We say Avinu Malkeinu – our Father our King.  In addition to being our awesome king, Hashem is our loving father.  On this day we are not focusing on the details of our responsibilities or what we have done right or wrong last year.  We are turning to Hashem with a simple cry from the depths of our soul to the essence of Hashem.  We are one with You.  We are bound to You and we ask you to express that bond with us in abundance and blessings.  

Hashem our awesome King but also our loving Father wants this relationship, and like a benevolent king and a loving father, is willing to give, no matter how much we deserve.

See that the blessings have begun to appear in front of our eyes.  Let go of fear and negativity.  Have faith in Hashem, reconnect with Him on a basic, deep soul level, and Hashem will reward that faith and prayer with great goodness.  I urge you to find a shofar blowing (in person, virtual is not appropriate for Rosh Hashana and also does not fulfil the obligation).  Chabad is hosting many outside Chabad Houses and in parks.  As you hear the simple sound of the Shofar, hear your soul reaching out to Hashem.

May Hashem bless you and your loved ones, the entire community, all of Israel and the entire world with a good and sweet New Year, and may we finally see the end of sickness, strife and destruction, with the coming of Mashiach , true peace on earth and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.

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