Rosh Hashana

A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County
Rosh Hashana        1-2 Tishrei 5764              September 27-28, 2003              Vol.13 No.4

In This Issue:

Rabbi Yosef Adler
Kfir Subin
Shuky Gross
Food For Thought
Rabbi Chaim Jachter

This week’s issue of Kol Torah is sponsored by the Krinsky family לעילוי נשמת רחל בת ר' נחמן
and in memory of our family taken in an action before Rosh Hashanah from the Warsaw Ghetto to
 perish in Treblinka

יוכבד בת אליקים געדיל

and 3 of her children
מרים בת משה דוד
חוה בת משה דוד

אליקים געדיל בן משה דוד


Radical Changes
by Rabbi Yosef Adler

The concluding portion of the Torah reading for any Yom Tov is taken from Parshat Pinchas which describes the Korban Musaf of each Chag.  For virtually all of the Chagim, the verb form “Vihikravtem,” “you shall offer the prescribed Korban,” is used.  However, for Rosh Hashanah, we read “Vaasitem Olah,” “and you shall make an Olah.”  The Yerushalmi comments in the name of Rav Tachlifa from Caesaria, “Amar Hakadosh Baruch Hu, ‘Mikeivan Shenichnastem Lifanai Badin, Biyom Hazeh Maaleh Ani Aleichem Ki’elu Barati Etchem Chadasha,’”  “God says, ‘As  you pass through my court in judgment, I consider it as if I created you anew.’”  “Vihikravtem” represents a token gift.  “Vaasitem” demands radical change.  The Korban of Rosh Hashanah asks of us to become different individuals than we were previously.
A few examples will illustrate the point.  An individual becomes an Avel if his mother or father move on to the Olam Haemet.  Throughout the entire year, he is careful to come to Shul regularly, on time, to recite the Kiddush for 11 months.  The year lapses and he returns to his previous pattern of frequenting the Shul every Shabbat and Yom Tov, but no longer on a daily basis.  He has offered a Korban for the year, has made a sacrifice, but he is not a changed person.  A call is made to attend a Shiur.  He attends the Shuir but learning is not yet part of his everyday religious life.  He has made progress, but is still far short of becoming a new person.
The Yalkut Shimoni, citing Pirkei Dirabi Eliezer, comments on the Pasuk describing Avraham taking the Ayil to replace Yitzchak on the Mitzbeach.  “Amar Rabi Chanina, ‘Meoto Haayil Lo Yatza Mimenu Davar Libatala – Gidav Likinor Shel David, Oro Liezor Shel Eliyahu, Karno Hasmali Lihar Sinai Viyimino LiHakadosh Baruch Hu Shebo Atid Litkoa,’”  “Every limb of that ram offered by Avraham was converted to some future use - its veins for the harp of David Hamelech… its left horn to sound the Shofar at Har Sinai, and its right horn to be used by God to herald the arrival of Mashiach.”  The Ayil was changed one limb at a time.  God does not expect of us to change completely at one time.  Each one of us can identify one area in which we can change and emerge as the Briah Chadashah, the new individual.  As such, may Hakadosh Baruch Hu focus on the “new person” and may we be privileged to witness “Viruach Chadasha Eten Bikirbichem.”

Rosh Hashanah: A Time of "Yachad"
by Kfir Subin

Rosh Hashanah is more than just a holiday of blowing the Shofar and dipping apples in honey.  It is more than just saying Selichot.  The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah 1:2 says, “Birosh Hashanah, Kol Baei Haolam Ovrin Lifanav Kivnei Maron,” “On Rosh Hashanah, all the inhabitants of the world pass before Him [Hashem] like flocks of sheep.”  The Mishnah then quotes the Pasuk in Tehillim, “Hayotzer Yachad Libam Hamevin El Kol Maaseihem,” “He that fashioned the hearts of them all, who understands all their doings.”  What is the Mishnah teaching us?  The Gemara explains that on Rosh Hashanah, we are judged and counted like sheep coming through a narrow opening, one by one, and that Hashem sees the hearts of all the people in the world and judges them accordingly.  Another interpretation is that even though people are judged and counted one by one, they are still “reviewed together” – “Yachad,” which shows that Am Yisrael is like one combined nation.  The Maharsha agrees that the Mishnah does not mean that Bnei Yisrael are counted one by one; each person is counted and judged, as the Mishnah specifically says, “like flocks of sheep,” which shows that we are judged like a flock and not one by one.  We can see also in other parts of the Torah how being judged and how doing other things “Biyachad” can be advantageous.  For example, in the story of Migdal Bavel, Hashem did not kill the people who rebelled, rather, just punished them, since they kept the Mitzvah of Bein Adam Lachavero and were kind to one another.  We also see the opposite with the incident of the Mabul in which the whole generation was wiped out because they did evil things to their fellow man and they could not keep the Mitzvah of Bein Adam Lachavero, therefore, they were killed.  This just shows how staying together and being one big nation together can help our judgment.  This comes to teach that respecting one another and being like a “flock of sheep” and continuing to keep the Mitzvah of Bein Adam Lachavero and being a nation which is “Yachad” can really help us during the judgment of Rosh Hashanah.  Have a sweet new year.

Listen to the Voices
by Shuky Gross

We know that on Rosh Hashana, one is obligated to do the Mitzva of Shofar.  But what is the Mitzvah of Shofar?  Is it to blow the Shofar?  Is it to hear the sounds of the Shofar?  Or maybe, is it both?
According to the Rabbeinu Tam, the Mitzva of Shofar is the blowing of the Shofar, since he holds that Asiata Hi Gemura, the action of the Mitzva is the end of the Mitzvah.  In other words by blowing Shofar, you have completed your obligation of doing the mitzvah of Shofar.  Now this sounds like a good answer.  However, if the Mitzva is to blow the Shofar then everybody should have to blow Shofar for themselves?! 
The Rambam on the other hand, offers a completely different opinion.  He holds that the mitzvah is to hear the sound of the Shofar.  He therefore holds that even if the Shofar being used is stolen there is no problem of Mitzvah Habah Baaveira, a Mitzva that comes through a sin, since the Mitzva is to hear the Shofar and not to blow it.
In order to understand the opinion of both the Rambam and the Rabbeinu Tam we need to understand two concepts.  One is called Kiyum Mitzvah, fulfilling the Mitzva, and the other is Maaseh Hamitzva, the performance of the Mitzva.  These two concepts apply to Shofar and it is only with these two concepts that we can perform the Mitzva of Shofar.  It might be that both the Rabbeinu Tam and the Rambam are correct.  The performance of the Mitzva is the blowing, and the fulfillment of the Mitzva is the hearing.  And it is with another concept known as Shlucho Shel Adam Kimoto, a messenger of a person is like the person doing it, that we can be יוצא the blowing part of the Mitzva through the Baal Tokea while we fulfill the hearing part of the Mitzva by listening with our own ears.

Food For Thought
1)Why are the Tefilot of Rivkah not mentioned on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the story of Avraham’s treaty with Avimelech and Pichol part of Kriat Hatorah on the first day of Rosh Hashanah?


Halacha of the Week
It is obligatory to recite Asher Yatzar (if necessary) during the Chazarat Hashatz of Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah despite the prohibition to talk from the beginning of Tekiat Shofar until the last blast of the Shofar has been sounded after the conclusion of Mussaf (Teshuvot Tzitz Eliezer 11:45 and Teshuvot Minchat Yitzchak 3:44 and 4:47).

The Mishnah Berurah (587:15) presents the assertion of many Acharonim that one should try his best not to cough or blow his nose during Shofar blowing, to allow everyone to hear every blast of the Shofar from beginning to end.


Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Shuky Gross, Effie Richmond
Publication Editors: Jerry Karp, Sam Wiseman
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