Rosh Hashanah

Three Basic Prayers of Rosh HaShanah

June 28, 2006

Three descriptions, so to speak, of G-d, through which we can relate to Him, are contained in the Mussaf Prayer of Rosh HaShanah. They are as follows:

1) Malchiyot – Kingliness:

G-d is the incomparable King of The Universe. The destiny of humanity is to come to this realization. Whereas human kings rule in accordance with the principle of :”might makes right,” G-d is the Holy King, Who is, at the same time, beyond comparison in His power, “Vas er vil, Tut er” – “Whatever He wills, He can do,” yet He is also the Father of the orphan and the Judge of the widow, Who is always on the side of the powerless.

He is the Incorruptible and Righteous Judge of the World, Who favors no one, and cannot be bribed.

He is the true G-d and His word, the Torah, is true and eternal.

2) Zichronot – Remembrances

We recognize that Hashem is above Time, and the idea of “forgetting” does not apply to Him, nor is He limited in “understanding” the inner thoughts of His creatures. Nevertheless, we ask that He “remember” only the “good” in our behalf when He Judges us.

For all of humanity, for the whole world is Judged today, we ask that He “remember” the faith of Noach who endured taunts and threats for 120 years while he built the Ark, and tried to explain its purpose to his wayward generation.

For the Jewish People in particular, we ask that He “remember” the early loyalty of our People, who followed Him as a bride, as He said “I remember your youthful devotion, the love of your bridal days, how you followed Me through the desert, in a barren land” (Yirmiyahu 2:2) and later as a precious child, “Is it because Ephraim is my favorite son, my beloved child? As often as I speak of him, I remember him fondly. My heart yearns for him, I will have pity on him, says the L-rd.” (Yirmiyahu 31:19)

Most of all, we ask that He “remember” the supreme act of devotion performed by our fathers Avraham and Yitzchak, where Avraham suppressed his natural feelings of mercy towards his son, and was prepared to sacrifice him at the command of G-d, and Yitzchak was prepared to be sacrificed, thereby suppressing his natural feelings of self-preservation, in fulfillment of G-d’s command. So should G-d suppress, so to speak, His Midat HaDin , His Attribute of Strict Justice, which would require that we be punished for our misdeeds, in favor of His Midat HaRachamim , His Attribute of Mercy.

3) Shofarot – Blasts of the Shofar

We recall the time that G-d revealed Himself on Mt. Sinai and gave us the Torah.

“The whole world trembled at Your Presence, Creation shook in awe before You, when You, our King, did reveal Yourself on Mt. Sinai to give to Your People the Torah and its Commandments, letting them hear your majestic voice, your holy words out of flashes of fire. Amid thunder and lightening did You reveal Yourself to them, amid the sound of the Shofar did you appear to them.”

The Shofar will be blown during the final battles of Israel with its enemies.

It will be sounded when our Exiles return.

It will be sounded when the Temple will be rebuilt.

It is the sound signifying the Presence of the majesty of G-d.

We ask that it be sounded again with the arrival of the Mashiach.