Rosh Hashana by Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
The Listening, The Internalization, The Acceptance
The ears in Hebrew are called “oznaim,” which is also a word used in Hebrew for a balance. Remarkably, also in science, the [internal] ears are responsible for a person’s sense of balance. Here we should also mention that the first heading day of the month of Tishrei, the month associated with the mazal or sign of the “balance,” according to Sefer Yetzira, is also Rosh Hashana, the day when the call of the shofar listened to by the “ears” takes a dominant role. This suggests that a proper listening/internalization of the contents of this day can bring the Heavenly Balance to weigh in one’s favor.
No other day or mitzvah in the Torah has such dominance on listening, as can be seen in the formulation of the blessing upon this mitzvah “lishmoa kol shofar” – to hear the sound of the shofar, on the day of Rosh Hashana. Even when hearing the Megila reading, the blessing is not “lishmoa megila,” but rather “al mikra megila,” for listening to the megila is a way one may connect to the reading of the megila – the dominant essence of the mitzvah. However, here the dominant essence of the mitzvah is the hearing of the shofar.
In Hebrew, the word “lishmoa” does not only mean to hear. Rather, “lishmoa” can also mean to internalize or to accept. From these explanations of the verb “lishmoa,” the other major themes of Rosh Hashana remarkably come to the fore. “To internalize” touches the deeper consciousness, as if awakening one’s deeper memory that one may have forgotten. Indeed, this explanation of “lishmoa” touches the aspect of “memory,” a major theme of Rosh Hashana, called the “Day of Memory” – Yom HaZikaron. On this day we tap into our deeper selves, remembering our Divine souls and our Divine potential and also as the continuation of First Man who was given his soul on this day. In turn, we ask that we be “remembered” compassionately in the Divine “Memory.”
Another explanation of “lishmoa” is to accept. This explanation is very close to the concept of accepting the Kingship of Heaven upon us, also a dominant theme of Rosh Hashana, the day we express our acceptance of Hashem as King upon us.
Hebron too carries these three themes. In regard to hearing the shofar, the Tikunei Zohar mentions: “At that time (the end of days), the three Patriarchs will adjoin with might, and teruah, shevarim, and tekiah will be sounded, and with them, “the earth will shake,” and this will be in the “end of days,” and all these miracles will be in the Land of Israel, for there is located Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried” (Tikunei Zohar 13:28b). In regard to memory, it is obvious that Hebron represents our People’s deepest national memory, for Hebron is the roots of our People and the roots of our settlement in our Holy Land. Therefore, it is no wonder why the Torah mentions the “Depths of Hebron,” even though Hebron is the highest city in the Land of Israel topographically. In regard to acceptance of God’s Kingship it is clear that Hebron represents this acceptance, for Hebron was ordained by Hashem to be the city that King David be accepted as king over all Israel, thereby forming the prototype of Messiah, called by our Sages (Sanhedrin p. Helek) “another David,” who by his human sovereignty will bring about God’s Majesty to be manifest upon all earth.
Real Miracles: From now till the Days of Awe, when we pray to be written in the “Book of Life,” we will relate real stories that demonstrate Hashem being the “King of Judgment” through stories of the afterlife, near-death experiences, etc.
Also, Maarat Hamachpela is considered a “channel” to the afterlife: Sharon (a man) Nachshoni tells (year 5757) that after the deadly car accident he experienced, apparently during the period of 17 minutes he was considered clinically dead, he saw himself in a large hall with many people who had already died. These dead people were “dressed” in beautiful clothing and looked happy to see him. Sharon heard a voice introducing him to these people, and later after this near-death episode, Sharon was able to name and describe these people he had never met before and those that had died before he was born… However, Sharon felt very embarrassed, since everyone was “dressed” so beautifully, but Sharon was dressed in filthy clothes full of bloodstains. Sharon found himself in a court before all these people, and saw his life, from birth till this moment run quickly before his eyes. He heard a “bad voice” which said negative things about Sharon, and also there was a “good voice” which said positive things about him. Sometimes Sharon was allowed to talk for himself, but sometimes not, and these “voices” would talk in his stead. Sharon was asked: “Did you deal honestly in your affairs?” Here the “bad voice” said many negative claims against Sharon. Then, Sharon was asked: “did you establish regular times for Torah study?” Sharon answered “yes.” Another question was, “did you have hope for salvation?” Sharon did not know what they meant by this question, and later after this near-death episode, Sharon continued to ask what was meant by this question. (Note: these questions are identical to those mentioned in the Talmud Shabbat 31a). Sharon was told that either he should die or his grandmother. Sharon offered that he die, but he felt that his offer was refused. Later, after this incident, it was known to Sharon that indeed his grandmother had died at the exact same time of his clinical death.
To be continued next week…
Source: “Hahayim Sheleachar Hamavet” R. Yitzhak Halamish