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

Rising Up by Moshe Zharnest