Chag Kosher Visameach! Did I say that right? Well, it’;s not Pesach tonight, but some things that we do prior to Rosh HaShanah and on Rosh HaShanah sure seem reminiscent of Pesach. Let’s take, for example, the custom of those who fast half the day on Erev Rosh HaShanah. The Tur cites a Medrash that states that fasting prior to Rosh HaShanah, on Tzom Gedalyah and on Yom Kippur is analogous to a country that sends three groups of people to appease the king. Similarly, on Erev Rosh HaShanah the adults fast to appease HaShem and so on.
Perhaps there is another aspect to today’s fast. The Sforno (Devarim 26:13) writes that the confession of Maasros is that we lament how the service in the Baisi HaMikdash was supposed to be performed by the firstborn, and on account of the sin of the Golden Calf, the firstborn were replaced by the Leviim. Thus, we see that we always need to be cognizant of “the first.” We can suggests, therefore, that prior to this first day of Tishrei and the first day of the year, we fast to lament how the firstborn should have been the ones serving HaShem. We too, firstborn or not, have the opportunity every moment to be the first, be it the first to Shul, the first to open a Sefer and study HaShem’s Holy Torah, the first to recognize someone in need, and the list goes on and on.
Tonight we eat the Simanim, the signs that are represented by various fruits such as the apple, the pomegranate and even some “rookie” fruits, i.e. fruits that have not graced our table all year round. These first fruits reflect the desire of every Jew to be first, and in the words of the Baal HaTurim, all firsts are holy. There is more to say about the connection between Pesach and Rosh HaShanah, but let us suffice for now with the statement of the Gemara (Rosh HaShanah 10b) that Yosef was released from jail on Rosh HaShanah, a mini redemption in itself, and according to Rabbi Yehoshua (Ibid 11a) the Jewish People will be redeemed in the month of Tishrei.
Let this Rosh HaShanah be a great day of firsts for the Jewish People and HaSHem should allow us to merit the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, today!
Have a Ksiva Vachasima Tova and a gut Gebentched Yohr with all the brachos possible!
Have a great First Shabbos!