It’s been a long journey. Shofar blasts each morning, LeDavid (Tehillim 27) twice a day, Selichos for an entire week, and finally Rosh HaShanah. But what are we truly preparing for? We have before us two days of closeness to Hashem, who loves us more than we will ever know. But maybe for the same reason we dread bonding time with our parents, we often dread Rosh HaShanah as well. We began saying the paragraph of LeDavid a few short weeks ago, something to make our davening even longer each morning and night. But those that look into this Mizmor can find a very important lesson. David HaMelech writes, “Ki Avi VeImi Azavuni, VaHashem Yaasfeini,” “For my father and mother have abandoned me and Hashem shall pick me up”. Hashem will always take care of us even when we think there is no one there. And sometimes, there really might not be anyone there in this world, but there is still the One, who cares the most of all. Think about the words we say daily: “HaBocher BeAmo Yisrael BeAhava,” “Who chooses His Nation Yisrael with love”. One can’t even begin to understand Rosh HaShanah without recognizing Hashem’s love for all of us. Hashem doesn’t want us to meaninglessly sit there and say the words that Chazal wrote, but instead wants us to say them with some love towards Him. If any of us think we truly understand love, then why don’t we apply what we know to our love for Hashem? The fundamental principle of any relationship is give and take. The root of the Hebrew word “Ahava”, love, is “Hav”, which means to give. One must understand on Rosh HaShanah that Hashem gives to us every day of every year, while all we seem to do is take.
These two days of prayer are our chance to give; to build our relationship with Hashem. The giving on these days can even be selfish giving. HaKadosh Baruch Hu simply wants to hear from us. As long as we put love into that which we pray for, we can achieve both give and take. For this reason, if one can’t look at his life and see anything bad, and he honestly loves everything just the way it is, then he should simply to daven that Hashem should continue these good things. But I think we all know that not everything is perfect, and that some of the things we do on a daily basis are not the right things to do. But putting that aside, this is our day to not only achieve forgiveness for the past, but also to daven for the entire upcoming year. Through this “selfish-giving” - davening out of love for Hashem and for our futures- we will surely see the benefits of Hashem’s kindness. Everything we want for ourselves and everything that will happen to us is decided over these 48 hours. Hashem is our father and will always have tremendous mercy on us. As we say each day, “Avinu Av HaRachaman,” Our father the merciful father.” Hashem does absolutely everything for us, His children. Through our prayers and love we will strengthen the connection we have to Hashem.
With a quick look at the three sections of Mussaf on Rosh HaShanah, Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot , we see the importance of improving the relationship we have with Him. The section of Malchuyot anoints Hashem as our King, as we try to bring ourselves closer to Him with more of an understanding of His divine rule. More than this, Rav Shlomo Wolbe points out that on a daily basis we fail to recognize Hashem as our King. Only through this section of Mussaf do we understand that He is always there for us whenever we need Him. Zichronot, while at first glance simply another way of admitting Hashem’s divine power, focuses also on the give and take that we must have with Hashem. In Zichronot, we admit that He is the ultimate one in remembering and recognizing things we may not have even known about ourselves. But as we recognize this power, we also requesting that He see our past and remembers us, as His children, for our good deeds and not our bad deeds; thus we have both the give and take. We then move to the final section of Shofarot, in which anoint Hashem as our King. It is said that when the Shofar was sounded at Har Sinai, Bnei Yisrael were unable to stand the tremendous power of the blasts and thunder alone, since the Shofar heralded the coming of the Shechinah to us. But in addition to that, the Shofar has always represented a wake up call for us to regain our closeness to Hashem. We combine the Kingship of Malchuyot and the give and take of Zichronot as we work on our connection to HaKadosh Baruch Hu with the dual aspects of Shofarot.
Among all the things we have all been taught to focus on for this holy day, the most important aspect is too often overlooked. May this be a Rosh HaShanah filled with love and growth Bein Adam LaMakom.