LTTN med xp logo Rosh HaShanah Update

September 29, 2000

© 2000 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved
Tonight Jews the world over will begin to observe Rosh HaShana, the beginning of the New Year. This is mans birthday, and thus the day that the Creator judges all of mans descendants, both the individual as well as every nation, and seals their decree for the coming year. The main service of G-d on this day is to listen to the sound of the shofar. The shofar blasts are intended to wake us up from our inertia and slumber; to remind us that we must take stock of ourselves and realign ourselves with G-d, the only true reality. In this manner, we begin to internalize the reality of our relationship with G-d. This is the beginning of the process of repentance.
 
Rosh HaShana is the coronation of G-d as King over all creation. The Holy Temple is the one place on earth that G-d has chosen for all time to declare His sovereignty to all mankind. Thus, the Temple Mount has a central role in G-d’s campaign to broadcast the message of His rule.
 
In the past few weeks following the Camp David talks, the Temple Mount has been in the news more than it has been in the last few years. Prime Minister Barak no longer hides the fact that he is willing to offer the Palestinians more than joint sovereignty over Jerusalem…he is willing to divide Jerusalem into two different cities. It has now become clear to all that whoever rules the Temple Mount is the ruler of this land. On account of this truth, and while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continue to ponder its fate, Likud party chairman Ariel Sharon desired to visit the Temple Mount to express the right for Jews to freely visit the holy site. Palestinians reacted to the news of Sharon’s intended visit with threats of violence, calling it a provocation. Sharon made his visit yesterday, accompanied by 2,000 policemen and guards, and the Palestinians kept their word and staged violent demonstrations on the Mount. Israel would like to believe that “the Temple Mount is in our hands” ­ but in order for one Jew to visit the Mount, it was necessary to deploy a small army to protect him.
 
At this hour, one day after Sharon’s visit and just several hours before the holiday of Rosh HaShana begins here in Israel, the area of the Temple Mount is in turmoil.. In their Friday sermons this morning, the sheikhs of the mosques at the site whipped their listeners into a frenzy by telling them that “Sharon and his band are trying to build the Holy Temple.”  The Moslem crowds quickly reacted with violence that has so far left 3 Palestinians dead and over 30 Israeli policemen injured, including the chief of the Jerusalem District police, still unconscious at this hour from a rock that hit him in the head. The Moslem crowds who attacked the Israeli police also attempted to stone the Jewish worshippers below at the Western Wall, and it was necessary for the area of the wall to be closed in order to protect the Jewish worshippers. It seems that Rosh HaShana here in Jerusalem is being ushered in on a background of violence.
 
And as the negotiations continue, one Israeli border policeman was killed yesterday in a roadside ambush, and another was murdered today in cold blood by a “partner in peace” ­ a Palestinian policeman on a joint patrol, who strolled over to the Israeli jeep during a coffee break and emptied an entire magazine of his automatic weapon into the Israeli jeep.
 
Rosh HaShana is the time for taking stock of ourselves. Since it is man’s birthday, G-d questions us: What have you done with the gift of life that I bestowed upon you? And what have you done to make My name known throughout the world? What have you done to sanctify My name?
 
As the shofar blasts rise up before G-d’s throne of glory and soften and sweeten the harsh  judgments and decrees, so too may the nation of Israel receive Divine guidance and blessing, enabling  her  to rise up and accept the mandate of her destiny, to sanctify G-d’s name before the eyes of all creation.
 
We wish you a happy and sweet New Year full of every blessing, and may this year bring the fulfillment of all our prayers.
 
Rabbi Chaim Richman
The Temple Institute
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem