Anointing Hashem on Rosh Hashanah
As Heard from Rav Don Segal
Transcribed by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis
We are standing a few days before Rosh Hashanah. Certainly our minds are focused on how we can be successful in the avodas hayom of making Hashem our King. What can we take upon ourselves to strengthen this area?
Before we can answer this question we first have to understand what Hashem’s kingship is. Malchus is recognizing Hashem as the One and Only Power in the universe. This is what we do every day in Shema when we accept upon ourselves kabbalas ol malchus shemayim.
Every time we do a mitzvah we are strengthening our recognition of Hashem’s authority over us in the world. On the other hand if we transgress we weaken our feeling of Hashem’s kingship in our lives. This is the great damage that comes from each transgression.
We can see an example of this principle from a story about the Steipler. Someone once asked the Steipler to speak about strengthening a certain area, but the Steipler refused, explaining that if people did not listen to him even one time then he would lose all of his authority. So too, if we don’t listen to Hashem’s will, our feeling of His authority over us is weakened.
On Rosh Hashanah Hashem gives us chaim, life. When we are given life we are given everything we need for life as well. For this reason our request for chaim on Rosh Hashanah includes everything that we need for life, food, clothing, etc.
Hashem’s honor is His malchus. This is what Chazal mean that Hashem digs a tunnel underneath His thrown for teshuva. Teshuva is what supports Hashem’s thrown because it brings back His honor and reinstates His thrown.
If a person comes into Rosh Hashanah with chizuk and with a kabala for the upcoming year, then he will be on the path to recognizing and reinstating Hashem’s malchus in his life.
Chaim also includes berachah. Chazal teach us that wherever you mention Hashem’s name there is blessing. For this reason David Hamelech decreed that we should recite 100 berachos a day so that Hashem’s kingship would be on us in every aspect of our life.
The Chaye Adam brings a story of a person came before the heavenly court. He was able to say that he fulfilled all of the four chelekim of Shulchan Aruch. However when it was clarified that he made a beracha levatala, he was sentenced to come back as a gilgul or go to Gehenom.
The Rambam writes that the reason for 100 berachos is to always remember Hashem. Remembering Hashem means remembering His kingship. The Shoresh V’Yesod Havodah explains that for this reason the din of a beracha levatala is extremely harsh.
One hundred berachos includes the three tefilos of Shemonah Esreh. Shemonah Esreh is malchus of Hahsem. The Shelah said that one should only say al natilas yadayim right before tefilah. Even if a person cannot say Shemonah Esreh right away, if he says birkas hashachar that is like he davened Shemonah Esreh.
The purpose of the world is to increase Hashem’s honor. Chazal tell us that wherever there is mention of Hashem’s name there is blessing. The Chafetz Chaim asks then why is there poverty in the world? He answers that it is as a result of making berachos in front of erva.
First we have to accept Hashem’s malchus and then we can keep His will. If we want children, parnasa, etc. we must first accept Hashem as King, and then He will give us all of the necessities that are needed for life.
Rav Tzadka once said that one should divide a beracha into three parts 1) Baruch atah Hashem 2) Elokeniu melech haolam 3) then finish the beracha. If a person does this then He will say the beracha properly thinking about each section and he will not throw the beracha from His mouth.
Chinuch About Berachos
When a person speaks with his family at the Shabbos table he should mention something about berachos. Before making a beracha on any food he should explain to them the great wonders that Hashem does in giving us the gift of food and how we can express our appreciation for this with a beracha. This is the greatest chinuch that a person can do for his children.
The Mishnah Berurah writes in Siman Gimel that many problems come from the fact that parents speak lashon hara in front of their children and they lose their sensitivity to transgression. The greatest chincuh is by example and if we set a poor example for our children then their avoidas Hashem will be weakened for their entire life as a result.
When we say Baruch Atah Hashem on Rosh Hashanah we are mamlich Hashem. We should try and say berachos with great simcha and hearos panim. In the merit of this kabala we can be zocheh to a psak din l’tov on Rosh Hashanah.