29 Elul 5773
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Talmud Yerushalmi Institute
Kiddush Hashem through the Eyes of the Talmud Yerushalmi
“Who is a Nation as Great as You” - D'varim 4:8
As we approach Rosh HaShana, the day that our fate is determined, it is natural for feelings of fear and uncertainty to overcome us. We reflect upon our past recognizing our misdeeds and our failures.
But this is not the true spirit of Rosh HaShana! The Talmud Yerushalmi notes that ordinarily when faced with judgement, people are depressed. They dress in colors of mourning and let their beards go. This is because they do not know the outcome of their judgement.
Not so the Jewish People when they stand in judgement before God on Rosh HaShana. They wear white, they trim their beards, they eat, they drink and are merry because they know the outcome of their judgement. They are confident that it will be favorable. (Rosh HaShana 1:3, 7b).
Not only does God wipe their slate clean and instate them in good standing, but He charges them with merit so much so that He will even perform miracles for them.
The Talmud Yerushalmi teaches us that on Rosh HaShana, a Jew must be confident both inwardly and outwardly, in one’s emotions and in one’s dress that forgiveness will ensue. The true spirit of Rosh HaShana is foregiveness!
The gentiles exclaim, “Who is a nation as great as you?!” because it has a God who is great; One Who they can always expect to judge favorably; One Who always does miracles for them.
Having certainty in God’s mercy makes us and our God great! It is the day that we attest that we are a great nation and that our God is the great God.
May we not only have forgiveness this Rosh HaShana, but the confidence and faith in the greatness of our people. May the nations exclaim: “Who is a nation as great as you?!”