Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hashem Is Carrying Us

Audio Version By Rabbi Sholem Perl

This week we read the seventh Haftora of consoling. It is always read on the Shabbos before Rosh Hashanah. It is always read with parshas Netzavim and sometimes Netzavim-Vayelech, when they are read together.

What is the connection between this Haftora and Rosh Hashanah? What message is there to be found here for the new year?

Just as there is a hint to Rosh Hashanah in the first verse of the parsha, so too is there a hint to Rosh Hashanah in the first verse of the Haftora.

The parsha begins, "You are all standing here today before Hashem your G-d." The day we all stand before G-d in judgment is Rosh Hashanah.

The Haftora begins, "I will rejoice in Hashem, my soul will exult in my G-d." "I will rejoice," is an open joy, referring to Sukkos, where the central theme is joy, and the holiday is called  "Time of our joy." "my soul will exult," is an inner joy, hidden in the soul, referring to Rosh Hashanah, where there is joy, because it is a holiday, because of the special mitzvah of the day, shofar, and because of what Rosh Hashanah represents and accomplishes, the crowning of Hashem as our King for another year, a new G-dly energy coming into the world and Hashem inscribing us, in the book of life, for a happy and sweet year. But this joy is hidden in the awe and solemnity of the Day of Judgment. As it says, "v'gilu b'riada, they will exult trembling."

Why is the order reversed, first the open joy of Sukkos, and then the hidden joy of Rosh Hashanah, doesn't Rosh Hashanah come first?

Perhaps there is an open joy that preceeds Rosh Hashanah. Whenever a mitzvah is done, it is accompanied with joy, the joy of a mitzvah. Even more, there is also joy preceeding the mitzvah, in anticipation of doing the mitzvah. With Rosh Hashanah, on its way, and the anticipation of all the things that causes the hidden joy, brings an open joy before Rosh Hashanah. Especially as brought by the Tur, that being that the Jewish people are certain that they will be meritorious in judgment on the Day of Judgment, they dress in white, take haircuts, etc. Meaning, that this preparation is because of the joy which comes before the holiday.

Just as the first verse tells us about hidden joy, the last verse also tells us about something hidden. Looking at the exile, Isaiah says, "In all their troubles, He was troubled," meaning, that Hashem is with us through all our difficulties, suffering, etc., albeit in a hidden way.

The Haftora ends, "and He bore them and He carried them all the days of yore." Meaning that during the exile Hashem is not only with us, but He is also carrying us through it all.

For some reason, Hashem puts us through so many difficulties, we all suffer in this exile. I choose to think that our suffering somehow, accomplishes great things. When we think back at the hardships, we realize, that Hashem was with us all the time, carrying us through it all.

Rosh Hashanah is the head of the year. Like the head controls the whole body, so does Rosh Hashanah effect the whole year. If we come in to Rosh Hashanah, with the knowledge, that Hashem is always with us, it will not only help us throughout the year, but when faced with challenges, we will allow Hashem to take care of things. We will realize that Hashem is there to carry us through it and we could rely on Him.

Working on this Dvar Torah, I was having a hard time with the idea of Hashem being with us through difficulties, because it is my nature, that everything is fine. I just felt that I wasn't relating to people and the concept of suffering. Needless to say, I was stuck.

Then Hashem sent me the explanation. A wonderful woman sent my wife and I an email, expressing what she was going through, and everything became crystal clear.

Here is what she wrote. I am sharing it with her permission.

The View From Down Here

I gaze up at the open endless sky.
More like search for the end of the darkness.
From way down here.
At the bottom.
The very deepest depth.
This abyss.

I have been here many times before.
It's almost comfortable.
Each time, feeling less alien to me.
Less lonely.
Less scary.
Not because I'm in a good place.
But this space leaves me no choice.
I must take in my surroundings,
Press onward.  
Freezing in fear - no longer an option.

I have been here so many times before, that I almost don't know how to cope with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
Planted firmly, yet still not set. 

But this time is different.
I'm less in a panic.
Less in fear.
Less consciously aware of how difficult MY life is.

Hashem has helped me.
The only way I can explain it.

Asked "how can you survive like this?"

My answer? "Hashem helps me".
This is truly the only explanation.

This Rosh Hashana when I cry to Hashem for a year living above ground, I will be thanking Hashem for holding my hand and holding my head up for me. After all, if it weren't for Hashems attention to me and His silent guidance,  I'd be laying on the cold floor of that dark abyss drowning in my own salt filled heavy tears.


May Hashem bless you all with a happy and sweet year, and may Hashem send Moshiach and do away with suffering. May he come soon.


  1. Dear Rabbi Yitzi, Your salty, heavy tears are filling up Hashem's cup in Shamayim, which will soon spill over and bring sweet Moshiach to save you and all of us from this painful galus. Seding you love and strength always. Gila Sacks

  2. Thank you Rabbi Yitzi for your divrei Torah. May you and your family have a kesiva v'chetima tova.

  3. Dear Rabbi Yitzi,
    every week, I wait for your dvar Torah with impatience. Thank you for your encouraging, powerful words. "Words that come from heart enter the heart."
    May you and your family have a good and sweet year 5777!
    May we all merit to greet our righteous Moshiach very, very soon!

  4. Rabbi Yitzi,
    You explain the inexplainable and I pray that you experience the miracle of miracles! Wishing you and Dina and the kinderlach a gut und gezunt yur.