Friday, July 15, 2011

The korban mussaf of Rosh ha'Shanah

The passuk says in this week’s sedrah;
וּבַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם ...וַעֲשִׂיתֶם עֹלָה לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַה'
“And in the seventh month on the first of the month it will be a holy convocation to you, you shall not do any work, it is a day of blowing the shofar. And you should make a burnt offering as a pleasant smell to Hashem...”

The Yalkut Shimoni explains;
אמר רבי תחליפא קיסריא בכל הקרבנות כתיב והקרבתם וכאן כתיב ועשיתם אמר הקב"ה מכיון שנכנסתם לפני בדין ביום הזה ויצאתם בדימוס מעלה אני עליכם כאילו היום נעשיתם כאילו היום בראתי אתכם בריה חדשה הה"ד כִּי כַאֲשֶׁר הַשָּׁמַיִם הַחֳדָשִׁים וְהָאָרֶץ הַחֲדָשָׁה אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי עֹשֶׂה עֹמְדִים לְפָנַי נְאֻם ה' כֵּן יַעֲמֹד זַרְעֲכֶם וְשִׁמְכֶם
“Rabbi Tachlifa from Caesaria said - in all other korbanos mussaf the passuk says ve'hikravtem – ‘you should bring’, whereas concerning the korban mussaf for Rosh ha'Shana the passuk says ve’asisem – you should make. Ha’kodosh Baruch Hu said to the benei yisrael – since you entered into judgement before me on this day and you came out and were pardoned I consider it as if today you have been created, as if today I have created you as new beings.

This is what the passuk refers to in Yeshaya (64:22) – ‘As the new heavens and the new earth that I will make stand before Me, says Hashem, so too will stand your children and your name."

  • Why does Hashem consider as if we have been newly created because we were found meritorious in din?
  • Why does the passuk say “כֵּן יַעֲמֹד זַרְעֲכֶם וְשִׁמְכֶם” – “So too your children and your name will stand.” The passuk should rather say, “So too you will stand”, or “You and your children”. Why does it refer to your children and your name?
The bris bein ha’besarim
In the Bris Bein Habesarim, Hashem said to Avraham;
וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַבְרָם יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה. וְגַם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל. ... וְדוֹר רְבִיעִי יָשׁוּבוּ הֵנָּה ...
"And Hashem said to Avraham – you shall surely know that your children will be sojourners in a strange land and they will enslave them and afflict them for 400 years and also the nation that they serve I will judge and after that they will go out with great wealth…And the fourth generation will return here …"

Why does the passuk describe the number of years (400) for galus, but the number of generations (4) for the geulah?

The Vilna Gaon z”l explains that loss is caused by the passage of time, so for galus the passuk says 400 years. However mending and renewal depends on the work of man, which is symbolised by generations, so for geulah the passuk refers to four generations.

The Gr”a is difficult to understand because in other places we find that the time for geulah is given as a number of years. For example in Yirmiyah (29:10) the passuk says that after 70 years the beis hamikdash will be rebuilt. According to the Gr"a, the navi should have given the number of generations until the second beis hamikdash would be built?

Hallel ha’Gadol
The gemara says in Pesachim (118);
א"ר יהושע בן לוי הני עשרים וששה הודו כנגד מי כנגד כ"ו דורות שברא הקב"ה בעולמו ולא נתן להם תורה וזן אותם בחסדו
“Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi said – the 26 times that the passuk repeats “הודו לה' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו” in Hallel ha’Gadol corresponds to the 26 generations that Hashem created in His world and did not give them the Torah and sustained them with His Kindness.”

We cannot explain that after the Torah was given the world is not sustained through Hashem’s kindness, because we know “עולם חסד יבנה” – “The world is built through kindness.” So why is “כי לעולם חסדו” only repeated for the generations before Matan Torah?

Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner z”l (Pachad Yitzchak, Rosh ha’Shanah 27) explains that before Matan Torah the world was purely sustained through kindness. The zechusim of the individuals in each generation were not sufficient for the world to be sustained in their merit. After Matan Torah the basis on which the world is sustained is din (judgement) and relates to the degree to which we keep the Torah. This is a greater kindness because it is better to enable people to be meritorious in din (judgement) than to sustain the world through pure kindness as we are then not embarrassed that we receive Hashem’s kindness for no reason.

(Nevertheless, Hashem joins the attribute of kindness to the the attribute of din (justice) after Matan Torah because the world cannot exist in din alone.)

Before Matan Torah when the generations existed through unmerited chesed, there was no connection between the chesed given to the generations and so the passuk repeats “כי לעולם חסדו”  twenty six times. Each chesed was a new chesed.

After Matan Torah each generation builds a foundation of Torah and mitzvos in order to be meritorious in din. Not only is this a zechus for them, but it also acts as a basis for the Torah and mitzvos of the future generations. Therefore after Matan Torah we have only one chesed - “עולם חסד יבנה”, because here we are not just given chesed but rather the world is built through chesed as each generation builds on the previous accomplishments of klal yisrael.

We can therefore answer the question on the Vilna Gaon. Before Matan Torah, the passage of time eroded zechusim because each generation did not inherently build on that which the previous generation had accomplished. Therefore the time for galus is given as 400 years. However after Matan Torah, when each generation is provided for by the zechusim of the previous generations and also uses this as a springboard for further accomplishment, time is a cause for kiyum ha’mitzvos, rebuilding and geulah and so the time until the building of the second beis hamikdash is given as 70 years.

Rosh ha’Shanah
The day that links our zechusim together is Rosh ha’Shanah when we begin a new year with the zechusim of the previous year as the basis for the next year. In order that any failings from the previous year should not hold us back, Rosh haShanah is made the first day of the aseres yemei teshuvah.

Therefore Hashem says;
“…since you entered into judgement before me on this day and you came out and were pardoned I consider it as if today you have been created, as if today I have Created you as new beings.

This is what the passuk refers to in Yeshaya (64:22) – ‘As the new heavens and the new earth that I will make stand before Me, says Hashem, so too will stand your children and your name."

Because we stand before Hashem in judgement, the Torah and mitzvos of the previous year are finalised and become the basis of our next year. We are pardoned for any aveiros we may have done, so we are able to live at a new level, hence we are new beings.

The reason that the passuk in Yeshaya refers to “your children and your name” is that since klal yisrael builds each year on the previous year’s mitzvos, a structure is created – “your name” – which serves as the basis and the zechus for “your children” to continue.

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