For the week ending 16 September 2006 / 23 Elul 5766

Rosh Hashana Rebirth

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From: Naftali in Denver
Dear Rabbi,
Is Rosh Hashanah important only because of its being the Day of Judgment, or is there some other significance to the day as well, such as we find regarding other holidays where several important things happened or are associated with that day?

Dear Naftali,

Rosh Hashana is on the first day of Tishrei, which according to one opinion in the Talmud was the day on which G-d created Adam and Eve, thereby completing the creation of the world.

Similarly, the Patriarchs, who re-instated the merit for the world to continue after previous sinful generations, were also born in Tishrei.

On Rosh Hashana, Sarah, Rachel and Chana were granted Divine-remembrance and were given children after having been childless. This was a blessing that ensured the perpetuation, and fulfillment of the purpose, of the world.

On Rosh Hashana Joseph was freed from the prison in which he had been enslaved for twelve years – a liberation which resulted in his ascendancy and blessing of continued life and sustenance for the nascent Jewish people.

On this day the bondage of our forefathers in ceased, initiating a period of respite that eventually culminated in their redemption.

The very first Rosh Hashanah of the world, the day on which Adam was created, sinned, repented and was forgiven, infused this day with qualities of judgment and forgiveness. Thus our Sages taught, G-d said to Adam: Just as you were judged before me on this day and emerged forgiven, so will your children be judged before me this day and be forgiven.

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