Rosh Hashonah

The Kochvei Ohr asks a very powerful question, why is it that the Yom HaDin is Rosh Hashonah and 10 days later is the day of Selicha and Mechila? If I were being judged it would make much more sense to have Yom Kippur first, do teshuva, get rid of all of our aveiros and only then we should be mamlich Hashem and be judged?

I heard a great analogy that can help us understand this. A fifty year old born and bread Sabra (Israeli) was driving his new Subaru down kvish echad at midnight at 240 km/h – more than double the speed limit – when he saw the blue lights flashing in his rear-view mirror. His licence was taken away from him; he was fined 5000 shekels and arrested on the spot! It just so happened that the next morning the prime minister was touring the prison and was set to meet a few of the inmates. He sat down in front of our sabrah and asked him if he had anything to say for himself. “Listen here Mister Prime-Minister; I’m fourth generation Israeli. I absolutely love this country, I fought in the Yom Kippur war, my son just received a medal of bravery for his service in Lebanon – I would die for this country!” The Prime Minister was very impressed but proceeded to ask how such an upstanding citizen could drive so irresponsibly. “Look my wife is in the hospital and after a long days work I went home sorted out the house and the kids and could only leave to be with her late that night. I was tired, the road was empty and I wasn’t thinking!” The Prime Minister got up and told the warden to let him free, give him back his licence and reduce his fine to 500 shekels! He then moved on to the next inmate- Mohamed Wahjinehad, who had been arrested for the same crime as our Sabrah friend. Before he could even sit down in front of him Mohamed spat in his face. “I hate this country; I wish I could have left this disgusting country like my late brother Abdul did - taking 5 Israelis’ with him! If only there could be more righteous people in this world like Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat!” The Prime Minister asked to explain his actions of the night before. “Oh that. This is supposed to be a free country I was just checking out how fast my new car can actually go!” The Prime Minister got up and told the warden to increase his sentence to six moths change his fine to 50000 shekels and have his hole family deported!

The warden said, “I don’t understand both were arrested for the exact same crime, why the different treatments?” The 1st inmate I interviewed was an upstanding citizen he loves the country acknowledges its laws and respects its government. Anything he’s done wrong must have been a once off thing. We don’t have to worry about him in the future. Whereas the 2nd inmate was a loose cannon, he has no respect for the laws of the country and has no plans of obeying them in the future. How could we allow hem to get away with such lenient punishments.

Now the answer to Reb Yisroel Salanter's question is obvious! We go through Rosh Hashonah acknowledging G-d’s sovereignty recognising the fact that we are here to serve him! We daven Vesimloch Hashem… We then can ask him to forgive us for our sins! Whereas if we came straight into Yom Kippur and started telling Hashem how we’ve betrayed Him been ungrateful to Him, stolen, lied, cheated… We wouldn’t have a chance!

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