Monday, September 29, 2008

A Time to Reflect

This has been a tough year for my family and for me - especially the way it ended with the return of Reuven’s cancer. Let us hope and pray that the next year will produce a more positive outcome for our family. May it be God’s will to grant Reuven Ben Tova Chaya a Refuah Shelaima – a complete recovery from his illness.

All prayers on his behalf are greatly appreciated. And any prayers or thoughts for my grandson’s welfare on the Yom HaDin - the Day of Judgment will be appreciated even more so. On this day where our year is inscribed - the gates of Heavenly mercy are open for prayer.

We are all written on this day into either the book of life or the book of death. No one knows what their fate will be, no matter how healthy or how sick. Let us pray that we are all forgiven our sins - Bein Adam LaMakom and Bein Adam L'Chavero (which first reqires Mechila - forgiveness - from the injured party).

I can think of no better prayer than the one said after we hear the sound of the Shofar:

“On this day the world was created and on this day all (God’s) creations stand in judgment – as children or as servants.”

“If we are like Your children treat us with the mercy of a father to a child. If as we are like Your servants, our eyes are dependant on You… until You favor us and take us out as a ‘light’ in judgment (in positive disposition) - Oh awesome and Holy One.”

I now ask Mechila from all I may have offended – both unintentionally and otherwise.

As a community of Jews, there is much for which we need to do Teshuva – and I include myself. Many of the things I write about are areas that - we as a Kehilla need great improvement in. Whether it is in Mitzvos Bain Adam L’Makom – Man and God; or Mitzvos Bein Adam L’Chaveiro Man and his fellow man - whether it is in the Modern Orthodox community or the Charedi community.

It is in the area of Bein Adam L’Chavero that I often focus. That’s because of the potential harm to our fellow man as well as the Chilul HaShem involved. My friend ‘bewhiskered’ delineated some of these areas in one of his comments to the last post:

In times such as these, do we not openly deny the authority of Torah? Whether the discussion is of beating up women on buses, acting in a dishonest manner in business, being intolerant of those of a different Shnit, or protecting and enabling those who would abuse innocent children, while threatening the victims, are these not in fact, acceptable endeavors in this Acharis HaYamim? Do we not as a whole, flaunt these imperfections with an almost prideful demeanor, as shortcuts to Hatzlacha?

At this time we should not only reflect on ourselves as individuals but on ourselves as a community. Rosh HaShanna is about change. No one wants to do that. It’s hard. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

God does not expect us to achieve perfection. As last week’s Parsha tells us: ‘Lo BaShamyim He’.

We are not Malchei HaShareis - ministering angels. To whatever extent we can improve - even if it is only a little bit – that is beloved to God.

We should resolve to look at each other more favorably, to be Dan L’Kaf Zechus more often to understand each others motives and realize that even when we disagree that often both sides are L’Shem Shamayim. In short we should strive to be a kinder and gentler people.

Perhaps in a new spirit of tolerance and understanding we can all merit to be written and signed into the book of life. May God grant all of Klal Yisroel a year of health, happiness, and prosperity.

Ksiva V’Chasima Tova