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Perashot Nissabim-Vayelekh 5777

Home > Rabbi's Weekly Message > Perashot Nissabim-Vayelekh 5777

Perashot Nissabim-Vayelekh 5777

Friday, September 15, 2017 Author: Rabbi Mimoun Miller

Perashot Nissabim and Vayelekh are really one perasha, although sometimes they are separated so that Perashat Nissabim is read specifically before Rosh HaShanah. This is because Perashat Nissabim has a very important message intended to prepare us for Rosh HaShanah.

This week I noticed a sign that really struck me. It said: "Won't Happen to Us is Not an Emergency Plan." Amazingly, it echoed a passuk in our perasha. Referencing the admonition in last week's perasha, it says the following: "And it will be that when he hears the words of this imprecation, he will bless himself in his heart, saying, 'Peace will be with me, though I walk as my heart sees fit.'" Meaning, I can do as I wish without fear because calamities can only befall other people. The pesukim continues, "For Hashem's anger and jealousy will smoke against that man, and the entire imprecation written in this Book...". What we see is that the most severe punishments go to someone who does not fear Hashem. 

This same idea also applies on Rosh HaShanah. On Judgment Day, everyone is judged for better or worse. One's life, one's prosperity and one's health remain in jeopardy. A G-d fearing person who pleads for forgiveness from Hashem will certainly receive His Divine Mercy. 

The Sages describe the missvah of blowing the Shofar as follows: As Hashem sits in his judgment throne on Rosh HaShanah, the prosecuting angel rises to make his claims. On this day, Hashem's commandment of blowing the Shofar awakens His love for us. At the sound of the Shofar, the accusing angel gets confused and Am Yisrael departs the court exonerated.

Take the case of a child who has misbehaved in school. His teacher has already managed to call his parents and tell them how their son caused a disruption in class, predisposing them to reprimand him. As he enters the house, the child unintentionally slams the door on his fingers. The child screams from the pain and his panicked mother reacts emotionally. There is commotion in the house as everyone tries to calm the child and comfort him. Suddenly, all his mischief in school is forgotten and all the punishments his parents thought of giving him were annulled. To add to this, his parents also give him candy and treats to console him. 

By analogy, this is what happens on Rosh HaShanah. When we stand in judgement, individually and collectively, Hashem commands us to blow the Shofar. The blast pronounces the deep cry of Am Yisrael beseeching Hashem's mercy. In return, a cry of compassion from Hashem reverberates in heaven and the prosecuting angel cannot complete his deliberations. Thus all misdeeds are absolved. 

Rosh HaShanah is the day where all the events of the upcoming year are determined, tragedies as well as successes. Do not say, "Peace will be with me, though I walk as my heart sees fit." Rather, one must fear Hashem and ask for mercy for ourselves, our families and all Am Yisrael. Hashem, in His glory, has given us this special day and will surely bestow benevolence on His creations and inscribe us in the Book of Good Life.

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