Wednesday September 18, 2019
The Two Days, by Tzvi Schnee
Reading the Zohar is like entering an alternate Universe; yet, this is more akin, by way of explanation, to entering the actual spiritual universe, according to its emanation from Ein Sof (the Ineffable Name of G-d). One very interesting teaching that I happened upon, concerns Rosh HaShannah. According to the Zohar, the first and second day of Rosh HaShannah are each significant; what is notable, and needs to be mentioned first, here, is that two days of Rosh HaShannah are celebrated both within Israel, and in the Diaspora. With that noted, the Zohar elaborates on the spiritual quality of each day, delineating the first day of Rosh HaShannah as being connected to the Attribute of Judgment, and the second day to the Attribute of Mercy (Chok L’Yisrael: Ki Savo; Zohar Pinchas 231a, Vayechi 226b).
Perhaps, this is the reason that we celebrate with a festive meal – H’Shem’s Mercy has the potential to diminish the Attribute of Judgment This would surely be something to celebrate – to have the resultant joy of acknowledging H’Shem’s Mercy to us. Yet, to be pardoned of our aveiros (sins) requires teshuvah (repentance); otherwise, we have no reason to celebrate, if judgment is still upon us. The Days of Awe – the ten days between Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur – allow for repentance, prayer, and charity to avert the severity of the decree that is upon us as individuals, for the new year on the Hebrew Calendar. The words form a familiar refrain, in Hebrew, teshuvah, tefillah, tsedokah, the three means that will aid us in our sincerity to appeal to H’Shem to have mercy on us. “For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, JPS 1917 Tanach).