Rosh HaShanah : Take It While It's Hot!

Well…Lockdown 2.0 is beginning tomorrow.  At least we're not locked out of shuls and locked in our homes.  But, we're still limited to 500 meters and many stores will be closed, shuls will be limited, and…kids will continue to be home.  Sigh.

They say that this initial phase will last 3 weeks.  I doubt it.  The infection rate is at 10 percent and some hospital Corona wards are completely full.  I think it'll take longer.  Well…you never know what will be. We all know, not one person on earth (except for Bill Gates it seems) predicted we'd be here a year ago. 

"Those who are beinonim ("in the middle") are suspended from Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur.  If they attain merit, they are written for life.  If they don't attain merit, they are written for death" (Rosh Hashana 16b).

Rav Yitzchak Blazer asked a question on this teaching.  If somebody is a beinoni, it means he has equal merits and sin.  If so, why does he need to do teshuvah, which is just one mitzvah in the Torah?  Let him simply do any mitzvah, and therefore his merits will outweigh his sins! 

He answers his question, explaining that if a person fails to do teshuvah on the days especially suited to it, this sin itself is enough to outweigh the other mitzvos he does!  As a proof, he brought a story from the Gemara (Yoma 87a) that said that once Rav went to walk in front of a butcher who had once insulted him, hoping that the butcher would take the opportunity  to ask for his forgiveness.

When Rav Huna heard of this, he said, "Rav is on his way to kill someone."  In the end, the butcher refused to take advantage of the opportunity and did not fare well afterwards.

 Rav Pincus said on this, "This is the seriousness of the Holy Days. Since these days are especially favorable for mercy and forgiveness, if a person doesn't take proper advantage, and rather wished that the Days of Awe would just be over already and the happy days of Sukkos should take their place, it is an affront to Heaven.  This is a very insulting attitude to take, when Hashem graciously seeks to reconcile with us and wipe away our sins.

This year has been a rather difficult year for most of us.  Many have suffered the loss of friends and family; many have suffered illness or loss of income.  Many have been stuck at home with children for months on end.  It hasn't been easy.  I've been joking with friends, "I've heard recently that Rosh Hashanah is coming."

However, we should try our best, whatever "best" is nowadays, to take this time, these next 10 days and try to use them properly.  It might not be the same as it was in previous years, but any movement forward, is still movement in the right direction.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and a very meaningful Rosh Hashsanah.