Posted on Sep 8, 2021 | 0 comments

Tishrei 2, Second Day of Rosh Hashana

The idea of Rosh Hashana as the day when we “coronate” G-d as the King of the Universe, may be one of the strangest and hardest to accept for those of us raised in modern, democratic societies. To us kings are corrupt despots at worst, and characters out of fairy tales at best.

Yet this idea is essential to the observance of Rosh Hashana, because in the language of Judaism a king is a metaphor for absolute authority. On Rosh Hashana we accept upon ourselves G-d as the one and only absolute authority who rules over every aspect of our lives, and we submit to His judgment, which we believe will be merciful because our King is also our Father.

When we accept G-d’s absolute authority over us, we do not annihilate our own individuality. On the contrary, we only empower it. When we acknowledge G-d as our King, we simultaneously recognize the nobility in ourselves—the dignity and majesty of having been created in the Divine image.

This idea fills us with unbridled joy and points up the paradox of Rosh Hashana, because Rosh Hashana is a day when we stand before the Supreme King and tremulously accept the “burden of His sovereignty,” but it is also a festival, which we celebrate amid much feasting and rejoicing.

Such is the nature of a coronation: it is an event that combines trepidation and joy, awe and celebration. For true kingship, as opposed to mere rulership, derives from the willful submission of a people to their sovereign. So the coronation of a king includes a display of reverence and awe on the part of the people, conveying their submission to the king, as well as the joy which affirms that their submission is something they whole-heartedly desire.

The joy and celebration of Rosh Hashana is called v’gilu b’roadah, “celebration wrapped in trembling.”

When we stand before the King, we feel such joy that we want to dance, but we cannot in respect of the King. So the joy must be packaged in a more appropriate expression. Only after we leave the palace (on Sukkot) can we begin celebrating with unbridled expression.

This is a time to get real, seriously – get real!  Real with yourself. If this is the year that Moshiach returns….on THIS Yom Teruah, will you be ready? Will you find your name in the Book of Life … or will the Holy One close the book…..

If that book is closed will you know why you’re name is not among those listed? Good question – for each of us.

Ponder on that as the next ten days – called the Days of Awe – swirl around us.

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