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B"H

Shalom and Bracha!

May Hashem seal the inscription for you, your entire family and all those who are dear to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous and sweet new year and may we see the redemption through Moshiach immediately!
 

Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday that is observed for two days both in Israel and throughout the world. As a result, there are always seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The significance thereof is that on Rosh Hashanah we renew our acceptance of Hashem as our king and to imbue our lives with the spirit of Torah. We are given one of each of the days of the week to demonstrate the strength of our resolve. The Ari Hakadosh explains that each of the intermediate days serves as an opportunity to do Teshuvah for the corresponding days of the past year (Friday for all the past Fridays, Shabbat for all the past Shabbats, etc.) and is also the source of blessing for the corresponding days of the coming year. As Teshuva entails introspection concerning the past and positive resolution concerning the future, a full week allows us to do Teshuvah concerning every aspect of our lives. As such, Shabbat Shuvah is the focal Shabbat of the year, encompassing all of the previous Shabbats of the year and preparing for all the Shabbats of the coming year.
 

The word Teshuvah means to return. The ten days of Teshuvah are not only days of penitence but rather days of returning. We were created with a divine nature, and this period is given to us to seek and return to our divine nature. Part of our introspection is upon our interactions and influence on others. As such, our inspiration of Teshuva must be shared with our fellow Jews. We thereby demonstrate that our service of Hashem is not only based on our desire to be closer to Hashem, but on Hashem’s desire to be closer to the Jewish people. The Rebbe once suggested that each person should have a Minyan, at least ten Jews, whom he has brought closer to Torah.
 

This is echoed in the Torah portion, Vayeilech. One of the Mitzvot discussed in the portion is Hakhail. Following the conclusion of the Shemittah (sabbatical) year, during Sukkot, the King gathered the entire Jewish people: men, women, and children, and read to them sections of the Torah. The impression the gathering made was so powerful it gave inspiration that lingered until the following Hakhail. The word Hakhail, in addition to meaning gather, means to unite and form a Kahal, a congregation. Just as a Minyan has a very different status than ten individuals praying, the effect of Hakhail was to transform a group of individuals into a new entity that surpassed the total of its components: a Kahal. As part of a Kahal we think differently, and put aside our own concerns for those of others and for the greater cause. This gives us phenomenal strength, far beyond our individual capabilities.
 

The teaching of Hakhail is a lesson for our times: the way to overcome confusion and difficulties not to think each of us must take care of ourselves but rather to unite and realize that we are all part of Hashem’s world and what affects others affects us as well. This unity will give us the power to overcome all of the unique obstacles of our time.
 

The Haftara begins “Shuvah (hence the name Shabbat Shuvah) Yisrael Ad Hashem Elokecha” “Return Israel to Hashem your G-d.” The exact translation is until Hashem your G-d. The use of the term until warrants deeper understanding. In this week’s portion, the Torah says that the Jewish people are a portion of Hashem. Chassidic teaching explains that each Jew has within him a portion of Hashem’s name. In Hebrew, the name Hashem represents G-d in His essence that transcends the nature of the world. The term Elokecha refers to our power and life. The Haftara teaches us we must return to Hashem until we feel that our power and life is the Divine energy that transcends the world. When we feel that our very life is G-d’s energy, we must live in accordance with His will, because the Torah is our life connection.
 

Just as the portion discusses the gathering of the Jewish people in Yerushalayim, may we immediately see the coming of Moshiach and the entire Jewish people united in the land of Israel.
 

Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Chatima Tovah,
 

Rabbi Biggs

A Project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554 fax 516 4874807


 
   
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