Rosh and not Rush Hashanah

BE PREPARED

PREPARATIONS ARE IMPORTANT

It is unbelievable that Rosh Hashanah is literally just a few days away. Everyone is shopping for round challahs, honey, pomegranates and a new designer mask. With dressing rooms now open at the mall, we are running to buy new outfits and shoes. All fine and dandy and very appropriate.

However, one critical ingredient can be overlooked and this is what to pray for on this Rosh Hashanah. We need to be prepared and organized so that when we open the prayer book, whether at home or in shul, one must absolutely identify what it is that we are asking for. If we only start thinking about the most important aspect of Rosh Hashanah, it will feel rushed and hence the name Rush Hashanah.

The following is what I believe to be universal needs, wishes and wants, so therefore applicable to everyone.

HEALTH

Health is critical. Any person struggling with real health concerns (like men with a common cold), can tell you that it is overriding and prevailing. It literally trumps all other concerns and issues. In fact, it makes most other worries and fears look trivial compared to health. The body is very complex and while the medical and scientific community have made huge strides, they still have a long way to go. Take Covid as an example of something that has baffled virologists and other experts.

Therefore, while we put our trust in doctors, nurses and specialists, we must put our faith and belief in a higher power. We should pray this Rosh Hashanah that we have good bodily health, plain and simple without compromise.

CHILDREN.

The Talmud states that rearing is extremely difficult, and it is. To know when to discipline or coddle one’s child takes great Solomonic–like wisdom. I once heard someone say that “disciplining children is like holding a wet bar of soap. Either a grip that is too firm or one that is too gentle will cause the bar of soap – or a child – to slip through your hands.” We need to ask for divine guidance to know when to hold and know when to fold them. When do you look away and when must you not look away?

I once met a man while I was engaged to be married and he told me that he is the parent of 10 kids. I asked him how he manages to love and discipline them. His response was that he attributes his success with having good kids as10 percent from he and his wife and 90 percent from above.

SHOLOM BAYIS – DOMESTIC HARMONY

The way I see it is that there are two types of love. Parents, by nature love their child(ren). From the moment the child is conceived there is this extreme love. Then there is the love between husband and wife. It was born long after this man and woman were born. And therefore, no matter how intense the love, it fades over time.

No marriage has ever survived on passion and love alone. The Hollywood claim that this may be the case has destroyed many a marriage. Maintaining a successful and harmonious marriage involves work, commitment and dedication. It also takes a cargo boatload of patience, wisdom and discretion — when to say something, when to keep quiet, etc. Once again, we need divine assistance to navigate the turbulent waters of spousal war and peace.

FINANCIAL SUCCESS

Everyone has a different definition of what it means to be successful. Some are not satisfied until they own vacation homes on three continents. Others collect rare cars, while others go nowhere and do not own a car, but do own real estate in midtown Manhattan. So, what financial success should we be praying for?

Judaism teaches us that it is a beautiful blessing from above to become wealthy as long as it does not affect who you are.

I heard a story when I was a child about a regular hard-working man who earned a decent living and gave 10 percent to charity. He was reliable and consistent. Then the strangest thing happened. The moment his business became lucrative, he eased up on his charity. It seemed the more money he made, the less he helped others. This went on for a while until his Rabbi intervened and taught him a very profound lesson. The Rabbi took him to a window that was completely transparent and showed him the street below. He then showed him a mirror that reflects the viewers face and is not transparent. The Rabbi explained that the window and the mirror are both made of glass. The only difference would be the silver backing behind the glass. The businessman understood the metaphor that a little silver caused him to only see himself.

It is okay to make a verbal contract with God during your prayers. Help me be successful so that I can take care of my family, and I promise to take care of your family.

May we all be blessed with health, happiness, exquisite joy from our children, peace of mind, peace at home and the world over.

Please feel free to share.

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Saacks is the founder and director of The Chai Center, Dix Hills, NY. The Chai Center has been nicknamed by some as New York's most Unorthodox Orthodox Center.
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