As we know there are a few things that we need to be aware of as Rosh Hashanah is approaching. The word “Rosh” means head, the word “Shanah” means year.
The first question we have: Is this really the first day of the year?
The commentaries from the Zohar and the Talmud mention to us that, according to the Jewish calendar, the year starts in the month of Nissan. This month relates to Passover or the zodiac sign of Aries. Then why do we celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first day of the seventh month, the month of Tishrei, which is the sign of Libra?
There are a few answers for this. The first answer is that on the first day of Tishrei, was when G-d and the angels decided to create the human soul and body; a unique creation that would include the most selfish force, which is the physical body of humans, and the most loving and giving force, which is the soul. For this reason we are celebrating the birthday of Adam and Eve, as we are the extensions and continuations of Adam and Eve.
The second reason explained to us, by the sages, about Rosh Hoshanah is the seventh month. The number 7 in Judaism has a lot of meaning: the seventh day is shabbat, the days someone sits Shiva after someone dies is seven days, etc. The number 7 has always been a magical number. But, why do we celebrate on the seventh month? According to the Kabbalists and Sages the number 7 represents all types of manifestation, it’s always the outcome of everything you are doing in your life. When you control the first day of manifestation, you get a chance from evening till the day time of that day to achieve, with your meditations, consciousness and prayers, every type of manifestation you want to happen for this year.
If you look at Genesis, during the time of Creation of Adam and Eve, there is a verse that says that G-d created them together and then G-d said, “it’s not good for Adam to be on his own”. That verse also needs to be understood, because were they created together or separately? All the books explain that Adam and Eve were actually created together, and there is a section where it says that G-d took a rib from Adam and from that created Eve. The word rib in Hebrew is Tzela - which also means side. So Adam and Eve were basically back to back, they couldn’t see each other. The gift that the Creator gave them was to separate them so they could see each other face to face. That procedure takes 10 days and is called the 10 days of repentance, which are the 10 days between Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur. In fact the whole idea of Rosh Hoshanah is to come to an understanding of whats written “Ben Kese L’asor” - literally the translation “when its covered till the tenth”. The 10 refers to Yom Kippur (the 10th of Tishrei - Libra) and Kese means when you are covered, meaning when you are back to back with whatever you want to connect to.
So Rosh Hoshanah is considered a day of Judgement and Yom Kippur is considered the day of atonement or mercy. Why is it judgment? Because we are facing a new destiny for ourselves, and we are getting a second chance to manifest whatever we want to manifest in this coming year. When we go back to the creation of humanity, when G-d created Adam and Eve, they were back to back, that means we also begin again everything back to back. For that reason the food that we eat, the prayers, and the shofar on Rosh Hoshanah are all special and they are all there to help us separate our potential and actual. Turn them around and make sure they are face to face.
We are using 8 tools that we are using during the meal. Then tools are to tap into things that are disturbing us in the upper world. When we mention that we want to remove our enemies, we dip apples in honey for a sweet year.
The question is, why do we need these tools? These tools are basically physical tools to connect to spiritual existence that cannot be seen by the five senses, but we still want to connect to it. So, when we take apple and honey it’s not about just the flavor of the apple and the honey, it’s more about connecting to the sweetness that’s available this year, and using the apple and honey to tap into it. For that reason, you say may we have a good year and a sweet year. If you say a good year, why also say a sweet year? Because in life, even if life is good to you, it doesn’t mean that you will have the flavor of sweetness.
Then we all have all the other tools; leeks, beets, dates, pumpkins, carrots, head of lamb or fish and pomegranates. Each and every one of them are not for physical taste, or what’s written in the blessing. Every time we talk about enemies with the fruit, we are not talking about external enemies, we are talking about an internal force within us that is causing us to do stupid things. For example; jealousy, when you are jealous you don’t get anything for yourself. When you are angry there is also nothing that comes out of it. So those internal enemies are forcing us, guiding us, and wanting us to be busy with our body, which represents all of our selfish agenda, and by us only being busy with our selfishness we are not capable of climbing to our true potential. Your true potential can only come when you remove the inner enemy. Those of us who still have external enemies, please make sure you understand that your external enemies are just a reflection of areas within yourself that have not fixed or overcome yet. And you have to come to a place where you will be able to overcome it.
Should we be happy during this meal? After all the following day the persecutor is going to present all the negative things we did all year long, and in the meantime you are eating a meal and celebrating. Are we celebrating that it will be a good year and that’s it? There is the devil sitting with G-d and discussing everyone’s file and we are celebrating with a meal?! How can that be? Well, try to imagine, G-d loves you unconditionally. But, what is G-d? G-d is everything that you are familiar with; minerals, vegetation, animals and humans. All of these are G-d. If you are not capable of feeling the love of the Creator through those 4 forces, you won’t be able to connect to the Creator in the best way. The Devil or Satan’s mission is that you will not believe in yourself or that you won’t believe that there is an outside force that loves you. For that reason, we have a meal in order to activate the true essence of the soul. That is why we do the mediation in the evening and the prayer and shofar in the morning. If you don't truly believe everything around you genuinely loves you, it’s not because they don’t, it’s because there is something inside of you that has not been fixed yet. If you don’t create a vessel to hold blessings, then those blessings become curses. Rosh Hoshanah is helping you to build your vessel, your container, so that you can hold all the blessings. We need to remember that everything we do on Rosh Hashanah is in order to build a good, big, high-quality vessel that will contain all the blessings that are coming our way this year.
This year we are so blessed that we have the Shofar only on Sunday, not on Shabbat because you are not supposed to blow the Shofar on Shabbat. In the holy temple, they only did Rosh Hoshanah for one day because they could fix the coming year in 24 hours. Today, because we don't have the temple, we can only do it in two days.
The first day represents harsh judgement, meaning, all my selfish behavior that is preventing me from feeling the love of the Creator towards me. This love may take its form in minerals, vegetation, animals or humans. So, if I want to feel that love, I have to remove iron curtains that are blocking me from believing. Who created these iron curtains? I did! Why would I create it? Because I was seduced by my dark side. Some people call it evil inclination, Satan or Yetzer Hara, there are many names. It’s a force that persuades you to be selfish and afterwards, the same force, goes in front of the Creator on Rosh Hoshanah every year and mentions everything you did wrong. The force mentions your selfish behavior and says you need to be judged, because it’s written that “G-d, is a G-d of truth and he sits on his throne of the king," and sees that we were busy with ourselves and we weren’t caring or sharing or busy with something bigger than ourselves, and that’s the reason and the blockage that doesn’t allow us to feel the love of the Creator.
When we blow the shofar and pray to G-d, what are we praying for? We are basically asking for another year. But another year is not guaranteed, not every person who wants something gets it. In addition, when people ask for something they still won’t get everything. Some people might want money but they won’t get love, some people might get love but they won’t get health, some people may get health and love, but they won't have enough money and so on. Just because you ask for something you won’t necessarily get it.
The shofar is a unique technology, as are the holidays and dinners of both nights. This technology was set by the sages after the destruction of the temple, to make sure that we have all the tools possible to remove what we call the selfish behavior from within. The only reason that we keep behaving in a negative way is because we think, “there is not enough for me”, or “I should have a better life”, or “I should punish the person who hurt me.” All those thoughts make us forget to think big. When you sin, it’s only because you think small. A person who thinks big doesn’t have time to sin.
If you look at the shofar it has a narrow part that goes against the shofar blower’s lips and it’s big at the end, there’s a verse that says, “Min Hametzar Karati Ya, Anani Bamerchav Ya” which means “From the narrows, I call on G-d. He answered me with vastness.”
We are asking G-d to open the gates for us. What does this mean? When a person has an evil eye, jealousy, anger or becomes too meticulous, he will always be right about the meticulousness but will always be wrong about everything else.You should ask yourself this year what do you want to be? Do you want to be right and miserable? Or do you want to be a little bit wrong but extremely happy? Happiness will not come when a person is too focused on details. When a person is too judgmental they are right about what they see, but they are absolutely wrong about the big picture.
Please, this year, as the Chatam Sofer, a great sage from 200 years ago, wrote, “the year of 5781 will be a year for the people who are willing to make themselves nothing, G-d will make them something”. Nobodies become somebodies. But, if you try to become someone important, unfortunately this year will make you insignificant. As it says in the book of Psalms, “Me’ashpot Yarim Evyon,” which literally means "G-d will raise you out of the garbage.” Garbage is ashpot in Hebrew, and is the same letters as this coming year: taf shin pey alef \ 5781. This shows that this coming year, G-d will take us out of all the “garbage” we are experiencing. But please don’t look at other people and see how much they have, or if they are better than you. Look at yourself: Are you capable of feeling the love of everything around you? That’s what this year is all about.
Shana Tova U’Metukah.
Rabbi Eliyahu Jian and the Vital Transformation Team