Melachim Beis perek 4

There is an important message regarding Rosh Hashanah brought out from perek 4 passuk 13. After the kindness performed by the Shunamite woman (who according to some was the sister of Avishag Hashunamis, who served David at the start of Melachim Alef), Elisha offers ‘To speak to the king or the chief of the army’ on her behalf, to fulfill any request that she had. But the lady turned down his offer, instead declaring ‘I sit amongst my people.’

The Zohar informs us that this conversation took place on Rosh Hashanah. Elisha was asking the lady if she wanted him to daven for her and intercede with Hashem to grant her any request she had. However, the lady refused, insisting that she did not want to be singled out; she wanted to be counted solely as a member of Bnei Yisrael, because when one is judged as an individual, the precise murky details of one’s spiritual account are checked, and the result might not be positive. In contrast, when one is judged as part of the nation of Bnei Yisrael, the judgment is more lenient, for one taps into the tremendous communal merit of the nation.

Indeed, Rav Elchanan Wasserman refused to be called up for an aliyah on Rosh Hashanah for this reason – he did not want to be singled out. The note hanging outside the celebrated Kelm Beis Hamidrash in the build-up to Rosh Hashanah aptly expressed these sentiments. The note implored everyone to be extra careful to create an atmosphere of unity and develop good relations with others during this crucial period, for on Rosh Hashanah we coronate Hashem as King, and in order to do that there needs to be unity among His subjects. As the passuk says, ‘And there was a king in Yeshurun when the people gathered together’, which can be interpreted, ‘When is there a king? When his subjects unite.’