New Years Message
ט"ו מנחם אב תשע"ח
July 27, 2018
As we approach the High Holidays, we look for a message of inspiration to guide us through the new year.
In the Torah portion of Nitzavim, which is always read right before Rosh Hashana, it states: "אתם נצבים היום לפני ה׳ אלקיכם" “You are all standing today before God, your God”. The Torah is teaching us that i incumbent on every Jew to stand tall and proud despite being a tiny minority amongst the nations of the world.
Yet, this is only possible when we are unified as one, as the verse continues “you are all standing here today” meaning no one is excluded.
One may ask, how is it possible to be unified as one, when each individual person has different opinions and different aspirations?
The verse answers this question in its conclusion: we are standing tall and proud “before God, your God”. There is an essential unifying component that every single Jew shares equally, which is our Neshama, our soul, a literal piece of God in each of us. When we contemplate on this idea we recognize the common denominator between all of us, and this realization strengthens our connection between one another.
And why is this unity so important?
The Torah continues, and tells us: לעברך בברית ה’ אלוקיך ובאלתו אשר ה’ אלוקיך כורת עמך היום
“[Unity is necessary] so that you may enter into a covenant with God, your God, and the oath He is making with you today”.
Each Rosh Hashana we renew a special covenant with God, a covenant in which we promise to live our lives in accordance with His Torah and Mitzvot. In return, God promises, that if we are unified, will be His people.
This is why the verse emphasizes the importance of unity as we head into the High Holidays. Unity is not simply a nice gesture, rather it is a necessary component for us to receive God’s blessings for the new year.
Our sages compare the Jewish Nation to a Torah scroll. Just as a Torah scroll is unkosher if even one tiny letter is missing, we, the Jewish people, are incomplete if even one soul is missing.
Therefore, as we approach the new year and the month of Tishrei, when we beseech God to bless us and fulfill all our desires, we must remember that the key to receiving His blessing and renewing our covenant is unity with our fellow Jews!
כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוקה
May you and your family be inscribed and sealed in the book of life for a happy and sweet new year.
Rabbi Shimon Silver