Category Archives: Rosh HaShannah

Tashlich: Waters of Satan

As a child I wondered how shaking out our pockets by the River Thames meant could possibly help to spiritually purify us? While a verse in Michah (7:19) hints to the idea as God “will return and grant compassion, hide our iniquities and cast (v’sashlich)all of their sins into the depths of the sea.” Tashlich is still shrouded in mystery and wonder.

Rashi (d. 1105) writes  that the Geonim (589 CE to 1038 CE) would plant beans such as Egyptian Ful or other kitniyot two to three weeks before Rosh HaShannah. On erev Rosh HaShannah once it had sprouted they would wave it around their heads and say ‘zeh tachas zeh – this one instead of that one, zeh chalifasi – this is my exchange, zeh temurosi – this is my substitute’ (Shabbos 81b Hai Parpisa). It appears to be remarkably similar to the kapporos we perform shortly before Yom Kippur. Yet the last part of Rashi notes that once the sprouted beans had been waived seven times, they would throw them into the river.

The earliest record which refers directly to Tashlich is the Maharil (Rabbi Yaakov Moelin, d. 1427) who writes that after the festive meal on Rosh HaShannah it was the custom to go down to the rivers or the sea to throw our sins into the deep waters (Sefer Maharil Laws of Rosh HaShannah 9).

The Rema also draws on a Midrash (Tanchuma Vayeira 22) which explains a deeper aspect to Tashlich. The Midrash states that when Abraham went with Isaac to perform the Akeidah, the Satan (accusing Angel) blocked his way with a river. Undeterred, Abraham entered the river and struggled on until the water reached his neck, at which point he cried out to God and was saved (see also Yalkut Shimoni Vayera 99).

The meaning behind this is very profound. The role of the Satan is to ensnare a person to sin. He can then take the evidence of this transgression to the Heavenly court for prosecution. The Gemara in fact relates the Yetzer HaRa (wicked, self serving inclination), the Satan and the Malach HaMaves (Angel of Death) to the same metaphysical force designed to test and indict us should we fail (Bava Basra 16a).

The Satan’s use of water is also significant as water absorbs and assimilates whatever is put into it. Abraham faced annihilation by entering the river and yet displayed tremendous faithfulness and loyalty to HaShem’s Word by continuing his mission.

On Rosh HaShannah we take the very symbol used by the Satan against our first forefather and empty the crumbs from our pockets – the remnants of our own indiscretions and spiritual failures – and throw them into the water to dissolve into nothing. While the Satan would aim to destroy us through our sins, we must be willing to do our best to continue undeterred despite the ordeals the Satan may throw at us. Even when we’re unsuccessful, provided that we are willing to learn from our mistakes, HaShem will dissolve our transgressions away, guiding us to an even greater connection with Him.

Second Day Yom Tov: Just a case of ‘Buy one get one free’?

One of the most infamous and perplexing aspects of Jewish practice is the notion of a second day of Yom Tov. This article aims to address the history of the practice and its relevance in modern times through classic Jewish texts.

The Gemara explains that before the Jewish calendar was fixed, the beginning of every Jewish month was declared by means of witnesses who would come to the Sanhedrin (Jewish court of law) originally based in Jerusalem and declare that they had seen the New Moon. After examination, if the witnesses were found to be telling the truth, the sages would declare the beginning of the month.[1] This message was spread over the Land of Israel via a system of hilltop fires.[2]

The difficulty arose with the fixing of the festivals. The Gemara[3] records that messengers were sent from Jerusalem to the Diaspora in order to inform distant communities regarding the fixing of the festivals. Even though the Torah only stipulates that our festivals must be observed for one day, it became common practice for Jews in distant communities outside of the Land of Israel to observe two days of the festival. This was because it took more than two weeks for the message to arrive regarding the exact date of Rosh Chodesh making the calculation of the date of the festival very difficult.

If for example, Sukkot must be kept on the 15th of Tishrei[4] there was insufficient time for the messengers from Jerusalem to reach Jewish communities more than two week’s travel away. In those far flung communities, Sukkot was therefore observed on both the 15th and 16th of Tishrei, whereas in the Land of Israel it would have only been observed on the 15th according to the Torah.[5] Similarly, Rosh HaShannah which falls on the first of Tishrei would have to be observed for two days even in Israel. The reason was because in a case where the witnesses for the New Moon did not arrive until late on the 30th of the previous month of Elull, they would keep that day as the first day of Rosh HaShannah in case they arrived. If they did arrive, Elull would be 29 days and the 30th of Elull would become the 1st of Tishrei.[6]

It is worth noting that while we can understand the need for communities to be strict in this case, there are also mitzvot (commandments) that those communities would lose out on by observing an extra day of Yom Tov. Since it is forbidden to wear Tefillin on Shabbat and Yom Tov, it would be impossible to perform that important positive mitzvah. Therefore, the addition of a second day of Yom Tov was not made lightly. Yet this strengthens the most fundamental question about the addition of a Second day of Yom Tov in modern times.

For over 1,600 years our calendar has not relied on witnesses to declare the onset of each new Jewish month. The change is largely attributed to Hillel II (not to be confused with Hillel who was a sage in Mishnaic times. Hillel II was the Nasi (leader) of the Sanhedrin between 320 and 385 CE.

In responsa of Rav Hai Gaon from the academy of Pumbedita during the early 11th century it appears that the calendar was fixed for a 19 year cycle of leap years in the year 358 CE. With it came the fixing of the Jewish months rendering the system of witnesses and messengers obsolete. Yet the practice of Diaspora communities keeping a second day Yom Tov continued even though the apparent reason for the practice no longer applied. The Gemara[7] explains that:

.במנהג אבותיכם בידיכם זמנין דגזרו המלכות גזרה ואתי לאקלקולי

Give heed to the customs of your ancestors which have come down to you; for it might happen that the government might issue a decree and it will cause confusion [in ritual].


The Gemara above implies that we retain the tradition of second day Yom Tov in case governmental decrees prevent us from learning Torah, causing confusion in the calendar. While this is not unreasonable given the historical context of the Gemara, it appears practically inconceivable in the modern world. Maimonides explains that since there is no longer a Sanhedrin to uproot the practice of second day Yom Tov, even though according to the “simple law” it would be appropriate to keep only one day, Jewish law states that two days are kept in line with the Gemara.[8]

Yet could the reasons given in the sources we have cited be only part of the picture, relevant for their time? Could we entertain the possibility that there other, perhaps deeper reasons for keeping a second day of Yom Tov outside the Land of Israel, beyond those already mentioned which appear obsolete?To begin to address this we must point to one glaring anomaly in the practice: the festival of Shavuot.

The Torah does not fix a date for Shavuot but simply commands us to count forty nine days starting from the second day of Pesach. This means that even before the calendar was fixed, the messengers had over two months from Rosh Chodesh Nissan before arriving in communities outside of Israel to declare the correct date of Rosh Chodesh. Long before the Shavuot, the messengers could have arrived and revealed the real date of Pesach meaning that the issue of doubt was no longer relevant; only one day of Shavuot needed to be kept.

Yet that was never the practice. Communities would keep two days Shavuot and this continues to be the custom today. There must therefore be some other reason, beyond the issue of doubt that led the Jewish people to adopt two days of Shavuot. If so, it may explain why we continue to keep two days Yom Tov for other festivals given that the calendar has been fixed.

To answer this we must examine the events surrounding Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah) which Shavuot commemorates and specifically piece together the exact date on which the Torah was given?

We know that in the year 2448, the Jewish people were commanded to take the Paschal offering on the 10th of Nissan.[9] The Gemara records that the Jewish people slaughtered the Paschal offering four days later at the prescribed time (14th of Nissan). They left the next day on the 15th of Nissan which was a Thursday.[10] This means that the 10th of Nissan was Shabbat which complements the notion that Shabbat HaGadol commemorates the taking of the Paschal lamb.[11] We also know that when the Jewish people arrived at Sinai it was the 1st of Sivan.[12]

Yet the big question is what happened next. The Gemara fills in some of the gaps left by the Torah.[13] On Rosh Chodesh itself the people rest from the journey. On the 2nd and 3rd of Sivan God speaks to Moses declaring them a ‘Kingdom of Priests’[14] and setting up the boundaries around the mountain.[15] God has commanded Moses and the people to prepare for two days and on the third day, God will reveal Himself and give the Torah.[16] This process begins on the 4th of Sivan. This would lead us to the conclusion that the Torah was given on the 6th of Sivan, the date which we have fixed for Shavuot.

Yet there is one little Talmudic fly in the ointment; the same Gemara recounts a machlokes (disagreement) between the sages and Rebbi Yosi regarding the number of days that Moses actually directed the Jewish people to prepare. As we mentioned, God had told them to prepare for two days but according to Rebbi Yosi, with God’s agreement Moses added an extra day of preparation thus pushing off the giving of the Torah to the 7th of Sivan. One could try to dismiss Rebbi Yosi as a daas yachid (lone opinion), except that the Magen Avraham points out that we establish the halacha according to him.[17] This means accordingly that the revelation on Mount Sinai actually happened on the 7th of Sivan.

Why then do we celebrate Shavuot on the 6th of Sivan? Moreover, we declare on both days that Shavuot is “Zman matan Torateinu” – the time of the giving of our Torah. In light of what we now know, the Magen Avraham asks how can we say this phrase on the first day?[18]

The Bais HaLevi gives a fascinating answer. He begins by citing a famous aggadata which describes how the angels wanted to prevent Moses receiving the Torah. They felt Torah should stay in heaven.[19] Moses argues with them pointing out that the majority of the laws relate to mankind and earthly activities, not to angels. Yet this seems obvious. Surely the angels would have realised that? Were they merely jealous of Moses for receiving these laws?

The Beis HaLevi explains that the angels were in fact less concerned about the written Torah, but instead wanted the oral aspect of Torah –the ability to expound the Torah and apply it in this world. That is why we say the phrase זמן מתן תורתנו –the time of the giving of our Torah. Our Torah refers to the oral Torah –the ability to expound Torah and this is precisely what Moses did when he reasoned that God’s command of preparing for two days was supposed to be for three days in total once you have considered the half day on the first day of preparation.[20]

The two days of Yom Tovtherefore representboth the oral Torah (the 6th of Sivan when Moses made the first act of Oral Torah) and the written Torah (corresponding to the giving of the Written Torah on the 7th of Sivan). It is the Oral Torah that can truly be ours as the Talmudic dictum states, לא בשמים היא – the Torah is not in Heaven.[21]

But if that is the case, why should the second day of Yom Tov only be practiced outside of Israel?

According to Rabbi Menachem Azariah of Fano since the Torah was given outside of the Land of Israel, God took the opportunity to give us our share in His Torah through the Oral Torah. He chose to celebrate Himself, in all His Glory, the second day of the Diaspora holiday which Moshe added on his own initiative according to Rebbi Yosi.[22]

According to this, since the Torah was given outside the land of Israel, when Moshe added one day with God’s approval, God was also approving the extra day of Yom Tov that Moses had created. This explains why Shavuot has a second day Yom Tov and indeed is the paradigm second day Yom Tov and source for all of the other second day Yom Tovim. This is also the reason why even though the basis given by the Rambam for second day Yom Tov is no longer valid as our calendar is fixed, each second day Yom Tov has its source in this seminal moment of Moses adding one day.

Let us thank God for this wonderful opportunity to celebrate and enjoy two days of Yom Tov and inspire ourselves of its true source: the nature of Torah itself. We have both an Oral and Written Torah. While we often prioritise the Written Torah as God’s Divine Will, in His infinite wisdom He declared that we too should have our own share in Torah, the Oral Torah which continues to this very day.


[1] Babylonian Talmud Rosh HaShannah 23b (see Mishnah there)

[2] Babylonian Talmud Rosh HaShannah 22b (see Mishnah there)

[3] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Rosh HaShannah 18a

[4] Numbers 29:12

[5] Rambam, Mishnah Torah Laws of Sanctification of the Month, Chapter 5 Halacha 4

[6] Even when witnesses were relied on, it is clear that communities understood that each of our months were designed to last for either 29 or 30 days and that they knew which months should be 29 and which should be 30. It is worth noting from this case that the primary day of Rosh HaShannah is in fact the second day and the day added out of doubt is the first day (see Babylonian Talmud Beitzah 4b and Rashi, ibid. ד”ה כל היום.

[7] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Beitzah 4b

[8] Mishnah Torah, Sanctification of the Month, Chapter 5 Halacha 5

[9] Exodus 12:3

[10] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Shabbat 87b)

[11] Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 430:1 and Mishnah Berurah 430:1.

[12] Exodus 19:1 see Rashi ibid.

[13] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Shabbat 86b – 87a

[14] Exodus 19:6

[15] Exodus 19:12

[16] Exodus 19:10

[17] Rabbi Avraham Gombiner, Magen Avraham on Orach Chayim Siman 494 (Introduction)

[18] ibid.

[19] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Shabbat 88b – 89a

[20] See the Gemara in Shabbat 88b-89a for a detailed account of the drasha that Moses made from God’s command.

[21] See Deuteronomy 30:12 and Babylonian Talmud Tractate Bava Metzia 59b

[22] Sefer Asarah Ma’amaros, Ma’amar Chikur Hadin 2:15

Planting and Growing

There was a farmer who every winter went to an agricultural convention. At the convention, he explored new methods for improving his crop output. He tried to discover new methods for efficient irrigation, hew hybrids that produced better produce, and new farm machinery. He expended all this effort so that he could be assured that the coming year’s harvest would be successful, if not better than the last year’s.

One year, while attending the convention the farmer decided to unwind by taking an evening off to enjoy the local nightlife. After a heavy night of indulging in the local beer, he became very drunk and unwell. After being hospitalised, the doctors discovered that his drinking had triggered a very serious ailment that would require long term care. He was moved to a hospital near his home, and his lengthy treatment began. Months went by, and the farmer’s health dramatically improved. He was finally discharged from the hospital and returned home.

But what he found at home caused him great anguish. He surveyed the entire acreage of his farm. Here he was, halfway into the growing season, and much of the land remained bare. Apparently, his instructions on when and where to plant had not been followed. Any dreams of a successful harvest were dashed. The farmer knew that he could do nothing by that point in time. Starting to plant now would not help. It was too late for that. All of the new techniques he had learned about and all of the machinery he bought could not help. All of the preparations he had made for this season were for naught.

The period of the Jewish year from the beginning of the Jewish month of Ellul (at the beginning of August) extending all the way through the festivals is dedicated to introspection and self-analysis. What have we done this year? How have we lived our lives? Have we lived up to our own expectations?

This period is a time to plot our course for the rest of the year. It is a time for repentance and assertive action; it is a time that we cannot let slip away.

This is the planting season. If we do not plant our seeds, if we do not make a firm commitment to grow and develop and refine ourselves this Rosh HaShannah, we will have missed out on a great opportunity. We could end up going through the motions, coming to Shul, hearing Shofar, fasting on Yom Kippur and simply miss the point.

So many people go through life on one level, happy just to be who they are. Some talk about ambition and goals, but rarely about self improvement. We can be distracted from true growth and development by the bountiful pleasures the world has to offer. Just as the farmer find comfort at the bar, so too we may often use the physical world as a form of escapism.

Yet when reality hits hard, we see that we have only damaged ourselves. Halfway through the growing season, our fields are bare. By taking advantage, we can hope and pray that we will all be the recipients of a bountiful harvest.

Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah

One of the key prayers of our Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur liturgy is unesaneh tokef. Not only does this prayer have an emotive melody, but the words were written to generate feelings of both remorse and awe: On Rosh HaShannah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die …

At the end, we cry out that teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah will remove the evil of the decree. Many translate the words teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah as repentance, prayer and charity. However, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson z”tl explained in a discourse that those translations were not accurate. In truth, his discourse was about the difficulty and danger of translation as there is often an assumption that for every word in one language, there is an equivalent in another.

The Rebbe explained that when dealing with fundamental ideas such as teshuvah, tefilah and tzedakah, we must be very careful to understand each one correctly. Often, when looking for equivalent words in other languages, we may mistakenly equate a Jewish value with an idea from another culture.

Repentance, says the Rebbe, is not teshuvah but charatah. These terms are not only dissimilar but in many ways opposites. Charatah implies remorse for the past and a pledge to not repeat the offence in the future. Teshuvah from the Hebrew root lashuv means to returning to the old, to a person’s nature prior to the sin. Worldly desires and instant gratification may distract him from who he really is – a good, moral and principled person – but his inherent being remains unchanged. Repentance means recognition of past mistakes and starting over, teshuvah – returning means revealing and rediscovering a person’s true holy nature.

Prayer in Hebrew is bakashah, meaning request or beseech. The Rebbe, basing himself on Genesis 30:8 and the explanation of the medieval commentator Rashi, the word tefillah means a connection with G-d. While prayer indicates a movement from above – from G-d to man, granting our wishes – tefillah is a movement from below, from man to G-d. People who have everything they want, may not need to make requests of G-d, but everyone needs to attach themselves and make a connection with him.

Lastly the word charity in Hebrew is chessed not tzedakah. Chessed implies that the recipient has no particular right to receive help and the giver is under no obligation to provide it. Tzedakah however, means righteousness or justice. The implication is that the donor gives out of a sense of duty.

These three acts help us to merit a year that will be written and sealed for good. Teshuvah allows us to return to our innermost self. Tefilah helps us to form a positive relationship with G-d. Tzedakah teaches us to turn outwards and be righteous and just to others.

May we all merit a year of blessing and success together with the rest of the Jewish people.



Choosing Life

We are about to celebrate Rosh HaShannah, the Jewish New Year which begins the ten days of repentance concluding with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During these ten days, we add many new prayers into our liturgy for example, ‘Remember us for life, King who desires life and write us in the book of life – for your sake, God of life’. Life, it seems, is a critical feature of these additions – write us in the book of life, write us for a good life. It seems that life itself is at stake. What does this request for life mean?

At the heart of Jewish thought, is the assertion that human beings have the ability to choose between right and wrong. This understanding is established in the verse in Deuteronomy 30:19 where God tells the Jewish people, ‘This day, I call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses: I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. You shall choose life, so that you and your children shall live.’

This verse however, leaves us with a difficult question. What is the purpose of God telling us to ‘choose life’? Surely, if life and death mean either continuing to survive or not, God is not offering any real choice at all. Furthermore, there is certainly no need to tell us to make the obvious choice and choose life. The answers to these questions reveal a very deep principle that contains a deep and enduring relevance today.

The Torah records a very interesting conversation between Jacob and Pharaoh. Shortly after Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he sends them back to Canaan to fetch Jacob, his father so that they can come and live in Egypt. When Jacob arrives, Joseph introduces his father to Pharaoh. The conversation that follows between Jacob and Pharaoh is very interesting. Pharaoh, seeing an elderly man walk into his palace innocently asks Jacob how old he is, as it says in the Torah (Genesis 47:8) ‘And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?”’

Jacob’s answer is very strange. ‘And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my dwelling are one hundred thirty years. The days of the years of my life have been few and miserable, and they have not reached the days of the years of the lives of my forefathers in the days of their dwelling.”’ What did Jacob mean when he replied with such a long winded answer?

The Russian commentator Rabbi Meïr Leibush ben Yechiel Michel Weiser (1809 – 1879), also known as Malbim explains that Jacob and Pharaoh were having a discussion about the meaning of life. Pharaoh asked Jacob ‘how many are the days of the years of your life?’ Jacob responded by saying that there are two types of life. On the one hand there is what he refers to as ‘the days of the years of my dwelling’. The Hebrew word for dwelling is לגורla’gur meaning to reside in a temporary sense. In other words Jacob is telling Pharaoh how many years he has physically been alive for 130 years.

However, Jacob continues and adds ‘the days of the years of my life have been few and miserable’ meaning, there is something else called life that is not about simply living. Longevity is very nice but it is not a goal in and of itself. Life is not just a question of survival. Jacob is saying to Pharaoh it is the quality and meaning of my life that I care about, not simply my age.

We know that Rosh HaShannah is our yom HaDin – Day of Judgement. This judgement is an appraisal of how we lived our lives during the previous year. What are we doing with the unique gifts that God has given us?Life is not just a question of survival, but appreciating what we have. In the coming days we pray not only for life itself, but for the gifts of life; for prosperity, health, the welfare of our community and so on. We pray for the things that make our lives meaningful.

In turn however, God tells us to ‘choose life’ meaning, invest your time wisely. Use the gifts that God has given you to live life the way it is supposed to be lived so as the Torah tells us ‘you and your children shall live’. God is not promising that we will simply survive by choosing to live. He is telling us that the secret of Jewish immortality is to invest our time carefully and to live a meaningful Jewish life because our children, and every generation after us will follow in our footsteps. When we care about our relationship with God and fill our time with meaningful activities, we are not simply surviving life; we are living life to our greatest potential and ensuring that our children do the same.

With that, I wish you all a Shana Tova U’Metukah, a good and sweet new year filled with meaning, growth, prosperity and above all life, for you, your families, the Northwood community and the entire Jewish people. May we all be inscribed in the book of life.

Judgement Day

The sages tell us that Rosh HaShannah is the day of judgement and yet, rather than reading a portion from the Torah about judgement, we began with the story of Sarah and the birth of Isaac. At that time Sarah was an elderly woman who had prayed for her own child but remained barren all her years. The Torah tells us that ‘God remembered Sarah’, meaning her prayers were finally answered and she gave birth to Isaac.

Why does the Torah tell us that God ‘remembered’? The idea that God remembered implies that He somehow forgot. This is clearly problematic. It is absurd to believe that an all knowing God could forget anything.

Remembering however, doesn’t necessarily mean that we forget.

On many festivals we say Yizkor – we remember parents and relatives who have died. No one believes that we need Yizkor to remind us of our loved ones who have passed on. We never forget them. That is not the point at all. The point of Yizkor is that during our most holiest seasons of the year we should set aside time to recollect what our parents and relatives gave to us, the affect that they had on our lives and on the lives of others and the imprint that they left here in this world which continues to influence us today.

The same is true when God remembers. God remembered Sarah in the sense that He examined her deeds. He examined the effect she was having on the world and when the time was right, answered her prayers. This forms the connection between remembering and judgement and helps us to understand what judgement means.

I want to illustrate this by the following example. Imagine that you are the head of a department in a large company with many different departments. You are responsible for managing the budget for that department, as well as the staff who work for you. One day, you receive an email from head office saying that in order to calculate the departmental budgets for the coming year, there will be an appraisal of each department to assess its performance and profit margin, compared with the previous budget. Furthermore, as the head of the department you must make a presentation to the board of executives, outlining your business strategy for the coming year and to apply for your budget to carry out that strategy.

You frantically begin putting together your presentation outlining all of the things that you have done, all of your department’s achievements, how you want to take the department forward in the coming year and how you need an even bigger budget to achieve it. On the day of your presentation, you nervously enter the board room, connect your laptop and begin your power point presentation. You begin to outline the need for a faster computer network, better office space, more staff and so on, acutely aware that the board are currently reviewing the results from the appraisal.

When you finish, they thank you and tell you that they will reach their decision in the next few days. In the mean time, they will be keeping a close eye on you while they deliberate. You leave feeling relived but also prepared to work hard over the next few days to impress the board hoping they will rule in your favour.

From Rosh HaShannah through to Yom Kippur we are all heads of departments. Every year God gives us a wide ranging budget – our talents, money, happiness, our family, even life itself. God is our CEO and Rosh HaShannah is the day of our presentation. He wants us to ask him for anything we wish for in the coming year, but to bear in mind that it will depend both on our previous achievements and desires for the year ahead. He gives us time to show just how much the budget we are asking for – life, prosperity, health, happiness and so on – means to us and how it will be utilised.

Nevertheless, if we look back over the year we may find that things don’t always add up. We thought our presentation went well. We thought that our friends and family also put together a good case and yet, inexplicably, we do not always come through the year with everything we ask for and yet others, who don’t seem to pull their weight come away with a greater budget each year!

While it is impossible to fathom, we can take comfort from knowing that our logic is not always God’s logic. As the prophet Isaiah writes (55:8-9):

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי נְאֻם יְקֹוָק: כִּי גָבְהוּ שָׁמַיִם מֵאָרֶץ כֵּן גָּבְהוּ דְרָכַי מִדַּרְכֵיכֶם וּמַחְשְׁבֹתַי מִמַּחְשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Nonetheless, while our CEO may explain that we could never understand how He apportions our budgets for the year ahead, we must still come to Him and make our presentations and pledge that no matter how hard life seems, we will be grateful for the blessings and gifts we have and do our utmost to merit not only what we have, but to receive the sweetness of an even great bounty for the year to come and declare הוֹדוּ לַיקֹוָק כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ – Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His loving-kindness is eternal.


Shannah Tovah Umetukah