Rosh HaShanah: A “New” Day

The Zohar states that whenever it is said the words vayehi hayom, and it was the day, that day was Rosh HaShanah. The simple meaning of this statement is that “the” day is Rosh HaShanah, the first day of the year and a very significant day in the Jewish calendar. Perhaps, however, there is a deeper meaning to the word hayom, the day. It is said (Devarim 11:13) vihayah im shamoa tishmiu el mitzvosai asher anochi mitzaveh eschem hayom, it will be that if you hearken to My commandments that I command you today. Rashi writes that the word hayom teaches us that the Torah and the mitzvos should be new to us as if we have received them today. The Medrash (Pesikta § 40) states that regarding all the sacrifices that were offered on the holidays it is said vihikravtem, you shall offer, whereas regarding the sacrifices of Rosh HaShanah it is said (Bamidbar 29:2) vaasisem, you shall make. This anomaly teaches us that on Rosh HaShanah one becomes like a new person, i.e. a “self-made” person. This, then, is the meaning of the Zohar. Whenever it is said vayehi hayom, and it was the day, was Rosh HaShanah, as on Rosh HaShanah we view ourselves as if we have just been created and we are fresh and determined to study Torah and perform the mitzvos.

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