Rosh Hashannah (Day 2, Tfillah)

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, transcribed recording

So just in a nutshell listen to this. You know how much life G-d wants to give us all year long? The flow from heaven is so deep, you can only take a little bit but it’s okay. On Rosh Hashanah, the day of the creation of the world, our closeness to G-d is so awesome that unless we take the whole thing – it just doesn’t go. Rosh Hashonna, the day when G-d created the world is such a deep day, mamesh the deepest depths there is. All of me has to be ready to take all of G-d, mamesh all of it.

Rosh Hashonna is one day which is so deep, it has to be all… it has to be all.

ואמרו לפני בראש השנה מלכיות זכרונות ושופרות מלכיות כדי שתמליכוני עליכם זכרונות כדי שיעלה זכרוניכם לפני לטובה ובמה בשופר

And recite before Me on Rosh HaShana verses that mention Malchuyot/Kingships, Zichronot/Remembrances, and Shofarot: Malchuyot so that you will crown Me as King over you; Zichronot so that your remembrance will rise before Me for good; and with what will the remembrance rise? It will rise with the shofar.

(א) ה' מָלָךְ֮ גֵּא֪וּת לָ֫בֵ֥שׁ לָבֵ֣שׁ ה' עֹ֣ז הִתְאַזָּ֑ר אַף־תִּכּ֥וֹן תֵּ֝בֵ֗ל בַּל־תִּמּֽוֹט׃

(1) Hashem is Sovereign, He is robed in splendor; Hashem is robed, He is girded with strength. The earth is established on firm foundation.

Matis Wienberg, Patterns In Time, p. 162

Malchus is the integration of all the expressions of Creation into a tapestry of crowning completeness. Through it we can perceive unambiguous expression of the creative will; lacking it we are buried in incomprehensible detail. Malchus makes orderly molecules out of probabilistic chaos, societies out of hoards- and a universe manifesting concept and Will out of an infinity of disarray. Malchus provides structure and synthesis, allowing all particulars distinct place and moment. (Rosh Hashana is actively involved in the journey that leads from a simplistic wholeness that was, to a completeness that will be.)

Abraham Joshua Heschel

The beginning of faith is... not a feeling for the mystery of living or sense of awe, wonder and amazement. The root of religion is the question what to do with the feeling for the mystery of living, what to do with the awe, wonder and amazement. Religion begins with a consciousness that something is asked of us.

רבינו בחיי, חלק א, בראשית לח:ל אין מלך בלא עם

Rabbeinu Bechaya, Bereishit 38:30

There is no King without a nation.

Reb Zalman Shachter Shalomi

And as is put forward in sefarim [holy books], the point of Rosh Hashanah is binyan hamalchut as we pray, “reign over the whole world in Your dignity.” ...

What is our role? To raise Binyan hamalchut! “Pronounce before me verses of malchuyot, etc” (in order to make me your Sovereign via arousal from below) and through this we arouse the Divine will to be our king for another year...

(א) וַיִּזְכֹּ֤ר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־נֹ֔חַ וְאֵ֤ת כָּל־הַֽחַיָּה֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּ֖וֹ בַּתֵּבָ֑ה וַיַּעֲבֵ֨ר אֱלֹהִ֥ים ר֙וּחַ֙ עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וַיָּשֹׁ֖כּוּ הַמָּֽיִם׃

(1) God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark, and God caused a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided.

R. Joseph Soloveitchik, On Repentance

The Problem of repentance (teshuva) in intertwined with an apprehension of the concept of time how it relates to human existence... Humans exist within two dimensions of time 1) In memory and 2) in expectation for the future... The present is the bridge that connects the two... What does a sinner do when he comes to repent of the wrongdoings he committed in the past? There is a repentance which does allow for continuity and which accords recognition to the past, and there is also repentance whose goal is the utter annihilation of the vil i the soul of man... Sometimes one will "erase" certain years of a lifetime... But when one blots out a part of his past he also severs part of his being; his past shrinks and his personality is dwarfed. An "operation" of this sort is not easily carried out... I have seen penitents do just that - and the consequences? They become different and estranged from their families and friends, who appeared to them to belong to another eon, a different world... All feeling and experiences connected with that period were dead to them. This is the first was of repentance, but there is another way - not by annihilating evil but by rectifying and elevating it. This repentance does not entail making a clean break with the past of obliterating memories. It allows man... to continue to identify with the past and still return to G-d in repentance... This way of repentance does not transform the penitent into "another". Here, there is no clean break between "this person" of yesterday and the "he/she" of today. It is no necessary to blot out and erase the past. The future can be built upon the foundations of the past. How so? By elevating and exalting (sin). The tears of sin are trasnformed into powerful impulsive forces which propel the sinner towards God... The penitentwho does not wipe out the past nor tear the pages of sin from his/her memort, but rather makes a point to use the memory of his sins to enhance his longings for holiness... such a person achieves the quality of repentance which elevates evil to a state of goodness.

(מב) וְזָכַרְתִּ֖י אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֣י יַעֲק֑וֹב וְאַף֩ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֨י יִצְחָ֜ק וְאַ֨ף אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֧י אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֶזְכֹּ֖ר וְהָאָ֥רֶץ אֶזְכֹּֽר׃

(42) Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob; I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham; and I will remember the land.

Lew: "Our souls are making this journey, yours and mine. The trip will go a lot better if we know where we are going”.

(כד) דַּבֵּ֛ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י בְּאֶחָ֣ד לַחֹ֗דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֤ה לָכֶם֙ שַׁבָּת֔וֹן זִכְר֥וֹן תְּרוּעָ֖ה מִקְרָא־קֹֽדֶשׁ׃

(24) Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts.

(ד) הַמִּתְעַסֵּק בִּתְקִיעַת שׁוֹפָר לְהִתְלַמֵּד לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ. וְכֵן הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ מִן הַמִּתְעַסֵּק לֹא יָצָא. נִתְכַּוֵּן שׁוֹמֵעַ לָצֵאת יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ וְלֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן הַתּוֹקֵעַ לְהוֹצִיאוֹ אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְכַּוֵּן הַתּוֹקֵעַ לְהוֹצִיאוֹ וְלֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ לָצֵאת לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ. עַד שֶׁיִּתְכַּוֵּן שׁוֹמֵעַ וּמַשְׁמִיעַ:

If the person hearing had the intention of fulfilling his obligation, but the person blowing did not have the intention of facilitating the latter's performance of the mitzvah, or the person blowing had the intention of facilitating his colleague's performance of the mitzvah, but the person hearing did not have the intention of fulfilling his obligation, [the person hearing] did not fulfill his obligation. Rather, both the person hearing and the one allowing him to hear must have the [proper] intention.

(ד) אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁתְּקִיעַת שׁוֹפָר בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה גְּזֵרַת הַכָּתוּב רֶמֶז יֵשׁ בּוֹ כְּלוֹמַר עוּרוּ יְשֵׁנִים מִשְּׁנַתְכֶם וְנִרְדָּמִים הָקִיצוּ מִתַּרְדֵּמַתְכֶם וְחַפְּשׂוּ בְּמַעֲשֵׂיכֶם וְחִזְרוּ בִּתְשׁוּבָה וְזִכְרוּ בּוֹרַאֲכֶם.

(4) Notwithstanding that the blowing of the ram's horn trumpet on Rosh ha-Shanah is a Scriptural statute, its blast is symbolic, as if saying: "Wake up you sleepers from your sleep and slumber! examine your ways, return in teshuva, and remember your Creator!

(יג) וְהָיָ֣ה ׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִתָּקַע֮ בְּשׁוֹפָ֣ר גָּדוֹל֒ וּבָ֗אוּ הָאֹֽבְדִים֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אַשּׁ֔וּר וְהַנִּדָּחִ֖ים בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲו֧וּ לַיהוָ֛ה בְּהַ֥ר הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ בִּירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃

(13) And in that day, a great ram’s horn shall be sounded; and the strayed who are in the land of Assyria and the expelled who are in the land of Egypt shall come and worship the LORD on the holy mount, in Jerusalem.

Unetaneh Tokef Prayer
On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will live and who will die… but Teshuvah [returning, turning, repentance], Prayer, and Righteous Deeds can transform [ma’avirin] the evil of the decree.

Lew, Alan. This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared (p. 69)

There is something about the mechanics of prayer that causes us to know ourselves. Like all spiritual activities, Jewish communal prayer has a point of focus; in this case, the words of the prayer book. We try to concentrate on these words, but inevitably our mind wanders and we lose our focus. When we realize that this has happened, we bring our focus back to the words of the prayer book, and as we do, we catch a glimpse of what it is that has carried us away. This is an important thing to see. The thoughts that carry our attention away are never insignificant thoughts, and they never arise at random. We lose our focus precisely because these thoughts need our attention and we refuse to give it to them. This is why they keep sneaking up on our attention and stealing it away. This is how it is that we come to know ourselves as we settle deeply into the act of prayer. Most likely we are utterly unaware of all this. After all, it operates well below the level of consciousness. Nevertheless, sitting there with the prayer book in our lap, we begin to become aware of the things we have been trying to avoid; we begin to see things from which we have been averting our gaze; unconscious material begins to make its way toward the surface of our consciousness.

(ט) וַתָּ֣קָם חַנָּ֔ה אַחֲרֵ֛י אָכְלָ֥ה בְשִׁלֹ֖ה וְאַחֲרֵ֣י שָׁתֹ֑ה וְעֵלִ֣י הַכֹּהֵ֗ן יֹשֵׁב֙ עַל־הַכִּסֵּ֔א עַל־מְזוּזַ֖ת הֵיכַ֥ל יְהוָֽה׃ (י) וְהִ֖יא מָ֣רַת נָ֑פֶשׁ וַתִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל עַל־יְהוָ֖ה וּבָכֹ֥ה תִבְכֶּֽה׃ (יא) וַתִּדֹּ֨ר נֶ֜דֶר וַתֹּאמַ֗ר יְהוָ֨ה צְבָא֜וֹת אִם־רָאֹ֥ה תִרְאֶ֣ה ׀ בָּעֳנִ֣י אֲמָתֶ֗ךָ וּזְכַרְתַּ֙נִי֙ וְלֹֽא־תִשְׁכַּ֣ח אֶת־אֲמָתֶ֔ךָ וְנָתַתָּ֥ה לַאֲמָתְךָ֖ זֶ֣רַע אֲנָשִׁ֑ים וּנְתַתִּ֤יו לַֽיהוָה֙ כָּל־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֔יו וּמוֹרָ֖ה לֹא־יַעֲלֶ֥ה עַל־רֹאשֽׁוֹ׃ (יב) וְהָיָה֙ כִּ֣י הִרְבְּתָ֔ה לְהִתְפַּלֵּ֖ל לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וְעֵלִ֖י שֹׁמֵ֥ר אֶת־פִּֽיהָ׃ (יג) וְחַנָּ֗ה הִ֚יא מְדַבֶּ֣רֶת עַל־לִבָּ֔הּ רַ֚ק שְׂפָתֶ֣יהָ נָּע֔וֹת וְקוֹלָ֖הּ לֹ֣א יִשָּׁמֵ֑עַ וַיַּחְשְׁבֶ֥הָ עֵלִ֖י לְשִׁכֹּרָֽה׃ (יד) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלֶ֙יהָ֙ עֵלִ֔י עַד־מָתַ֖י תִּשְׁתַּכָּרִ֑ין הָסִ֥ירִי אֶת־יֵינֵ֖ךְ מֵעָלָֽיִךְ׃ (טו) וַתַּ֨עַן חַנָּ֤ה וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֲדֹנִ֔י אִשָּׁ֤ה קְשַׁת־ר֙וּחַ֙ אָנֹ֔כִי וְיַ֥יִן וְשֵׁכָ֖ר לֹ֣א שָׁתִ֑יתִי וָאֶשְׁפֹּ֥ךְ אֶת־נַפְשִׁ֖י לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה (טז) אַל־תִּתֵּן֙ אֶת־אֲמָ֣תְךָ֔ לִפְנֵ֖י בַּת־בְּלִיָּ֑עַל כִּֽי־מֵרֹ֥ב שִׂיחִ֛י וְכַעְסִ֖י דִּבַּ֥רְתִּי עַד־הֵֽנָּה׃ (יז) וַיַּ֧עַן עֵלִ֛י וַיֹּ֖אמֶר לְכִ֣י לְשָׁל֑וֹם וֵאלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל יִתֵּן֙ אֶת־שֵׁ֣לָתֵ֔ךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁאַ֖לְתְּ מֵעִמּֽוֹ׃

(9) After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Chana rose.—The priest Eli was sitting on the seat near the doorpost of the temple of G-d.— (10) In her wretchedness, she prayed to the LORD, weeping all the while [to Remember her and grant her a child]... (12) As she kept on praying before the LORD, Eli watched her mouth. (13) Now Chana was praying in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice could not be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.(14) Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Sober up!” (15) And Chana replied, “Oh no, my lord! I am a very unhappy woman. I have drunk no wine or other strong drink, but I have been pouring out my heart to G-d. (16) Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; I have only been speaking all this time out of my great anguish and distress.” (17) “Then go in peace,” said Eli, “and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”

ר' יהושע אומר בר"ה נפקדה שרה רחל וחנה בר"ה יצא יוסף מבית האסורין בר"ה בטלה עבודה מאבותינו במצרים

Rabbi Yehoshua says: on Rosh HaShana Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were remembered by God and conceived sons; on Rosh HaShana Joseph came out from prison; on Rosh HaShana our forefathers’ slavery in Egypt ceased;

Reb Shlomo

On Rosh Hashanah, the acid test is, how much are you praying for someone else? In the Rosh Hashanah prayers, it's never singular, always plural. Because I'm standing before G-d and I'm saying unless you give life to the entire world, please don't give it to me. Unless you make everyone rich, please I don't want to be the only rich man. Unless you give peace to the whole world, don't give me anything, unless you give it to my husband, my wife, my children, unless you give it to Yerushalayim. Friends! Let this year be a real beginning not the same beginning we go through every year. Let's not begin the old record over again -- let there be a new record. New teachings. New words. New thoughts. Let every breath we take feel like we never breathed before. The holy Sochachover says when we blow shofar, G-d absolutely blows a new soul into us. Lets keep this new soul so holy and so beautiful & let's inscribe each other into the book of life.