This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
The latest article is posted here once a week. You can search the archive for past articles.
Rosh Hashanah (5760)
As we are approaching the holiday of Rosh HaShanna most of us should be asking ourselves what is really going on here. Why are grown up people making such a big production of such a childish act as blowing the shofar, nstead of having a wise Rabbi do something unique like sing a beautiful song, explain a difficult Torah passage, reveal a mystical secret etc.
In place of this we have as the peak of the day, a grown man stand on a stage in the middle of a congregation of Jews, an "Am Chacham U'Navon" (smart and Intelligent race) and blow on a ram's horn! This seems pretty primitive by any standards.
The explanation for this is even stranger than the question: the Jews are completely different from all other peoples, our Religion is different and, yes...... even our G-d is different. (As we say in our prayers every day, "Aain Kailokainu" there is NOTHING like our G-d).
A couple of years ago I was approached by three middle aged missionaries in New York. They started rambling off their act until I interrupted and asked them if I could ask a question. "Certainly" they replied.
I asked "do you believe that G-d is spiritual?" They looked incredulously at each other until the spokesman of the three turned to me and answered "of course, he is the spirit, he is the light" etc.
I looked at them with a look of pity shook my head slowly and said, "tsk tsk, don't you remember the first sentence of the Bible?" They, of course, didn't understand what I was getting at, so I continued: "In the Bible it says 'In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth', 'the heavens' means the spiritual 'the earth' means the physical."
"So we see" I continued," that the spiritual is not G-d but rather only a CREATION of G-d! Or in other words that even you can understand" I said firmly...... "our G-d creates your god!!" At that point they all looked at each other, turned around, and leftwithout saying another word.
Our G-d, the G-d of Israel, creates "the heavens and the earth"; the spiritual , including the highest level of 'Atzilus' down to 'spiritual Assea' (which is the spiritual level that most, or perhaps all, of the Non-Jewish religions get their kicks from) and the physical.
According to Judaism, however, G-d 'favors' the PHYSICAL! Yes, the physical is 'closer' to G-d than the upper worlds. That is why G-d gave the Torah, the Bait Ha Mikdash, and especially the Commandments in this physical world. That is why it is a custom to conceal one's tzitzis in a graveyard, so as not to insult the spiritual souls there with our material MITZVOS. Rosh Hashanna stresses this unusual fact about Our G-d more than any other holiday.
Every religion or nation has some sort of New Year's Day that celebrates some religious or national event. Our New Years day celebrates the day that G-d finished creating the entire physical world. (G-d is creating the whole creation every instant anew, but it began on Rosh Hashanah 5762 years ago)
Yes, the entire world belongs to Our G-d, and He favors the physical. He created it and put it in our hands, when? on Our New Years day (when He created man).
All He asks is that we should declare that He is the King, "Melech Ha Olom" King of the PHYSICAL as well as the spiritual world. How?
By taking a physical part of the world; an inanimate ram's horn, and doing with it what the Creator desires; to declare that here, in this physical world, is the place where G-d desires to be revealed as King, and it all depends on us.
Therefore, although every creation and certainly every mitzva or letter of the Torah contains 'mountians' of secrets to arouse our love and fear of G-d, the highpoint of this unique day is not something esoteric or even intellectual but rather a simple action of subservience blowing the Shofar and declaring G-d is King!!
May this year reveal the kingship of HaShem through the King Moshiach; the man we have been waiting for impatiently for thousands of years.
Copyright © 1999-2017 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.