Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day of Judgment for ALL OF MANKIND

Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment for all of mankind. On this day man is judged for all of his actions, and all that will transpire and occur during the coming year is recorded.

 Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 8a) derives this from the verse (Deuteronomy 11:12) that states: The eyes of G-d, your L-rd, are upon it [the land] from the beginning of the year until the end of the year - i.e., from Rosh Hashanah, the world is judged as to what will transpire throughout the year.

Our Sages said:

On Rosh Hashanah all of mankind pass before Him like sheep -they pass by Him one by one, one after the other, yet He scrutinizes them all with a single
  glance. Thus, the verse (Psalms 33:15) states: "He created all of their hearts together and understands all of their actions"; G-d, Who is the Creator, sees all of their hearts together (with a single glance) and understands all of their actions.

R. Cruspedai said in the name of R. Yochanan: Three ledgers are opened on Rosh Hashanah: one for those who are entirely wicked, one for those who are  entirely righteous, and one for those who are in the middle. The entirely righteous are immediately inscribed and sealed to live. The entirely wicked are  immediately inscribed and sealed to die. The fate of those in the middle is held in balance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

If they have merit [i.e., if they repent), they are inscribed to live. If they do not have merit [i.e., if they fail to repent), they are inscribed to die (ibid. 16 a,b).

Rosh Hashanah was ordained as a Day of Judgment for two reasons: The first is that on this day the creation of the world was completed and it was the Divine intention that the world be ruled by the trait of strict justice. Hence, the commencement of the year was ordained as the Day of Judgment.

The second reason is, as we noted above, that on this day
 Adam was judged, he repented, and he was forgiven.

These two reasons are alluded to in the
 Musaf service of Rosh Hashanah, where we recite: For You have ordained a statute of remembrance to judge all spirits and souls, to consider a multitude of actions and creations without end. From the beginning You have made this known and from the commencement You did reveal this. This day is the commencement of Your works, a memorial of the first day- a memorial of the first day of the completely created world and of the first Day of Judgment.

Our Sages have noted: Come and see how G-d's ways differ from the ways of man. The way of man is to judge a loving friend with good will, in order to treat him mercifully; and to judge an enemy with anger, in order to exact strict justice.

But G-d does otherwise: He judges the entire world - including those who violate His commandments - only with good will, in the month of
 Tishrei. And Tishrei's numerous Festivals and mitzvot bring anew the affinity between Him and His creatures. During this month of reconciliation, G-d welcomes man's prayer and repentance and judges him with compassion.

The teaching of the sages that each person is judged on Rosh Hashanah does  not refer to whether a person will merit Gan Eden and the World to Come if he is worthy, or Gehinnom and eternal destruction if he is unworthy. Rather, man is judged on Rosh Hashanah concerning only this world: whether he is worthy of life and peace, or death and affliction.

Our Sages taught: The verse
 (Psalms 81:5) states: This is the day on which Your works began, a remembrance of the first day. It is a statute for Israel, judgment for the G-d of Ya'akov. [In the Musaf prayer we continue:] And concerning the nations, it will be said then: Which for the sword and which for peace, which for famine and which for prosperity. And all beings will then be recounted to be remembered for life or for death.

This then is the manner of judgment: On Rosh Hashanah man's actions are weighed and he is written and inscribed either favorably or unfavorably regarding this world, based on that which he deserves for what he has done in  this world. And when man departs to his final resting place, his actions are weighed and his portion in the world of the souls is allotted him, based on his  merit (Ramban, quoted by Abudraham).

Even if a person sins throughout the year, he should not lose confidence in his capacity for repentance. Rather, he should return to the path of righteousness before judgment comes.

He should always believe that he has the ability to tip his own scales - and the scale of the entire world - to the side of merit. It is for this reason that it is customary among the whole House of Israel to be especially generous in giving charity, in performing good deeds, in the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Man is judged only according to his present actions
 (Rosh Hashanah 16a). Even if they are completely absorbed in sin throughout the year, G-d Himself testifies that Israel desires to fulfill His will. Hence, if they repent as the Day of Judgment approaches and fulfill G-d's will, they are judged as they are, and not as they were.


share on: facebook

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elements of Man’s Form

Elements of Man’s Form - Chapter 6
(tidbits comment: a MUST read sefer: Song of the Soul

Kabbalistic scholars have assigned names to the elements of man’s form. They are nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida.

Nefesh is the spirtual force which is the most inferior of the five elements of man’s form. Nefesh activates and is responsible for the functioning of the dimension of vitality. The dimension of vitality contains within it the cohesive force mentioned above in connection with the inanimate, the growth and sprouting force found in vegetation and the force described above as vitality found in animals. Thus man contains within him the qualities of the inanimate, vegetation and the animal. The element of nefesh is the spiritual force that brings the dimension of vitality into being and keeps it alive because such is the continual ratzon of the Creator. The Kabbalists determined that the liver symbolizes the nefesh and as such is described as the “dwelling place” of the nefesh.

Ruach is an element of form which is on a higher spiritual level than nefesh. It is responsible for human emotions and characteristics. Ruach is the force that arouses desires, lusts, ambitions, and indeed all human characteristics. The capacity to choose between good and evil stems from ruach and all the components of action and activity are also connected with ruach. The heart symbolizes ruach and as such is described as the “dwelling place” of ruach.

The neshama is a spiritual-intellectual force which guides human beings. The neshama’s task is to guide and correct evil traits, to overcome lusts, and to harness one’s powers to serve the Creator. The brain is described as the “dwelling place” of the neshama.

We shall elaborate on chaya and yechida, which are higher level spiritual forces, further on.

The Connection between Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama.

share on: facebook

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Song of the Soul

The Chason Ish in his work Emunah U’Vitachon (Faith and Trust) writes: If man is refined, at peace with himself, free of lusful desire, and amazed at the sight of the heavens on high and depths of the earth, he becomes excited and astounded because the world before him seems to be a hidden, wondrous enigma. This enigma captivates his intellect and heart, leaving them no ambition other than solving this puzzle. This solution absorbs his soul. He would pass through fire and water to attain it, for what is the point of this pleasant life it its purpose is concealed from him? His soul becomes disoriented, mourning and yearning to comprehend this secret and know its roots – but the gateways are locked.” …………….

……. To subjugate his (the Jew) actions, words, and thoughs for serving his Creator, he must know and recognize Him. Only the power of knowledge (daat) of the Creator can influence man’s characteristics and behavior. Faith is beyond knowledge and beyond intellectual analysis and debate. As Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler writes in Michtav M’Eliyahu: “emunah means when one believes in what the intellect cannot perceive” (pt. 1, p. 68). Faith surrounds us but does not enter us – it is not internalized. In contrast, ……..

…..Some are satisfied with fulfilling mitvot and understanding their reasons as expounded in many classical texts, such as Sefer HaChinuch. These explanations suffice for those seeking general information related to fulfilling mitzvot. These people pray with devotion and study Torah for its own sake. In their prayers, Torah study, and mitzvot, they serve their Creator with all their hearts and grow in Torah and fear of God, each according to the root of his soul.
However, these reasons do not satisfy everyone. Some consider this approach is too superficial. They feel that the stories in the torah have deeper meaning. As the Zohar says on parashat BeHa’alotecha: “Woe to the man who says the Torah comes to relate simple stories about this world” (p. 154a). The Torah has secrets hidden between the lines, and it was given to us so that we could recognize the holy Creator, know him, and learn His ways. It is therefore difficult to accept simple interpretations of the Torah’s laws and mitzvot. As Rabbi Chaim Vital writes in his introduction to Eitz HaChaim, “In the simple interpretations of the Torah, and its stories, laws, and commandments, there is no recognition and knowledge of the holy Creator. On the contrary, certain mitzvot and statutes appear irrational. And if so, wherein lies the greatness and beauty of Torah?” ………….

When wishing to turn page it is much easier to just change the 001 to 002 - I found that pagination is off when using page turns on the above link.

share on: facebook

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Time of Reconciliation

Since Elul is the last month of the year and immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah - Day of Judgment for all the world's inhabitant's - it was established as a time for repentance. We therefore recite Selichos and penitential prayers to God. 

From ancients times, these have been days of reconciliation between God and Israel.When Israel committed the sin of the golden calf and the tablets of the Law were broken, Moshe ascended the mountain and pleaded for Divine mercy and forgiveness. God acquiesced, telling him (Shemos 34:1): Fashion two tablets like the first ones. Moshe ascended the mountain on Rosh Chodesh Elul and stayed there for forty days, until the tenth of Tishrei. On the tenth of Tishrei he brought down the second tablets from the mountain, those which God had given Israel willingly and joyfully. This forty-day period - between Rosh Chodesh Elul and the tenth of Tishrei - was fixed for all generations as a time of reconciliation, a period of repentance and forgiveness.

Although true repentance is always accepted, the days of Elul are especially suited for repentance, for during this period Divine mercy is aroused and God's hand is outstretched to welcome those who return to Him.

source: The Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov

share on: facebook

Monday, August 6, 2012

TOMER DEVORAH: "...prepare for redemptions"

TOMER DEVORAH: "...prepare for redemptions": 19 Menachem Av 5772 Rabbi Wolfson: Disaster, Redemption May be Near Rav Moshe Wolfson of Brooklyn has held an emergency gathering in his ...
share on: facebook