Parsha Insights

Where Biblical law and Torah tale is brought vividly to life


The Jewish perspective on topical and controversial subjects

Life Cycle

Probing for meaning in our journey and its milestones.

Yearly Cycle

Discover depth and mystique in the annual Jewish festivals

Rabbi’s Desk

Seeking life’s lessons in news items and current events

Home » Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah: No Man for Himself

Submitted by on July 30, 2006 – 4:16 amNo Comment | 2,876 views

The Loss of a Mitzvah

As a consequence of our calendar arrangement, this years holiday season is influenced in a unique manner.

On the first day of the Rosh Hashanah holiday the Shofar is not sounded. On the first day of the Sukkot holiday the Etrog is not used. Our Rabbi’s prohibited the practice of these Mitzvot on Shabbat. They feared that the unlearned individual would carry a Shofar or Etrog to the Rabbi’s home for consultation, thereby desecrating the Holy Shabbat.

At first glance this line of reasoning seems suspicious. Why do our sages prohibit two fundamental Mitzvot to an entire nation – which includes great Rabbi’s and Torah scholars – because of the ignorance of the nlearned?
However, upon further review this rabbinical philosophy contains an invaluable lesson on how to conduct our daily lives.

The Way we Live

Every day, from the moment we awake, our mind is occupied with the question of how to get ahead. The stock investor seeks the best deal. The advertiser wants an original strategy. Insurance brokers look to beat the competition.
The overall challenge of making today a better, more successful day than yesterday does not leave us the inclination to consider the plight of others. The predicament of those who are not as fortunate. They are in
a sense left behind.
In a perfect world, we would be required to step back at times, and consider the situation of those around us. But the continuous uncertainty of what to buy and when to sell, the anxiety of making the right decision to beat the odds, engages our minds even during sleep.

As  society, we cannot succeed if we all remain separated from each other. no man for himself - innerstreamWe must follow the doctrine of reaching out to our colleagues, associates and friends. The true challenge should be the following – As
I succeed and move up the ladder, how many of my friends will I take along with me?

The Gain of a Community

When the learned scholar argues, “Let me sound my Shofar,” Jewish law responds, “As long as there is even one Jew unready to blow his Shofar, you have no right to sound yours.”
The scholar is forced to refrain from his Mitzvah, until he insures that all his students are up to par. He must wait until the last Jew – illiterate as he/she may be – is adequately prepared to perform their Mitzvah alongside him.
The Rabbis found it beneficial to reverse some of the most fundamental aspects of our tradition, just to remind us of this lesson.
Tags: ,