Simcha's Torah Stories - Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah 5761
"What are you doing Avi?"
"I'm planting a seed."
"Sounds neat. Can I help?"
"Sure, Chaim. Hand me those apple seeds over there."
"They are really small, Avi."
"Right you are. G-d will make them grow into a big, strong apple tree."
"It seems amazing, doesn't it? A tiny, tiny little apple seed like this can grow into a big strong tree."
"G-d put a biological genetic program into this little seed. It knows what nutrients to take from the soil, water, and sunlight. It takes in those elements and uses them to build itself into a beautiful tree that bears fruit."
"What you are saying, Avi, is that contained in this little seed is the 'program' for the whole big tree."
"That's kind of like Rosh Hashanah, Avi."
"Do you mean the custom that we have to eat an apple dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah, Chaim?"
"No, I mean that Rosh Hashanah is like the 'seed' from which the whole year sprouts."
"How poetic, Chaim."
"We see this reflected in the name of the holiday. It is called Rosh Hashanah, which means the head of the year. Its name should really be Reishit Hashanah or Rishon Hashanah (the first of the year). Why is it called Rosh Hashanah?"
"Good question Chaim."
"Rav Chaim Friedlander, zt"l answers this question by explaining that just like the head guides the whole body, so too the 'head' of the year, Rosh Hashanah, guides the whole year. Like the seed guides the tree which sprouts from it."
"If this day guides the whole year, Chaim, then we must be especially careful how we behave on Rosh Hashanah."
"Correct you are, Avi. G-d will judge us, and decide our fate for the whole year, based upon how we behave this Rosh Hashanah."
"What a sobering thought. What type of behavior is G-d looking for?"
"He always wants us to be nice to each other and have peace. However, this is especially important on Rosh Hashanah. This is the day that we proclaim His rule over us, His chosen nation. What kind of a nation are we if we are fighting and arguing?"
"Not a very good one."
"Exactly. The most important thing on Rosh Hashanah is to be at peace. Do not get involved in squabbles about unimportant things. Even things that seem important, like your seat in shul, should not pull you into an argument."
"Chaim, those are real words of encouragement. Let us all plant the seeds of peace this year. Sow them on Rosh Hashanah, and watch them sprout into a beautiful, peaceful year for all of us."
"Lishanah tova tikasev vitikasem" (May you be written and inscribed for a good year).
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