A Rosh HaShana Message from Rabbi Yehiel Poupko
This evening with sundown the Jewish people the world over, which is about 13 million of us, will inaugurate the new year 5774, since God created everything. Rosh HaShana is also known as Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgment. As Passover commemorates an event in the past and asks us to relive it in the present, so too with Rosh HaShana. According to Jewish tradition Rosh HaShana is the sixth day of creation. It is the day in which, in the first hour, Adam emerged as a thought in God’s mind; in the second hour He consulted with the angels; in the third hour God gathered up the earth; in the fourth hour God kneaded the earth; in the fifth hour God shaped the Adam; in the sixth hour God stood him upon his feet; in the seventh hour God cast the soul breath of life into him; in the eighth hour He placed him in Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden; in the ninth hour He commanded him not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge; in the tenth hour he sinned; in the eleventh hour he came before God to be judged; in the twelfth hour he was judged and set free (After all God said, “For in the day you shall eat of it you shall die,” and he did not die.). And God told Adam, “Let this be a sign to you and to your children ever after. Just as you came before me in judgment on this day and you were exonerated, so too will your children, all the peoples and nations of the world, will come before Me in judgment this day, and I will set them free as I did for you.” Adam is the first one forgiven.
Rosh HaShana celebrates God’s first judgment and forgiveness. And so it is the responsibility of the Jewish people on Rosh HaShana to talk with God on behalf of all the nations of the world. As our prayers, composed by the rabbis in the first century, read, “And on this day it is declared who shall live and who shall die; who for war and who for peace; who for famine and who to be nourished.” As we begin Rosh HaShana on behalf of all humanity we keep you, our dear friend, in mind for a year of health, nourishing food, warm clothing, comfortable shelter, and continued greatness in the service of all those created in the image of the one God.
A sweet year,