Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rachel's Sacrifice

The Haftora for the second day of Rosh Hashanah is all about the redemption. How we will return, how wonderful it will be, why we will merit redemption, and how much Hashem loves us.

At the core of its message, is repentance and ultimate sacrifice, that is its connection to Rosh Hashanah.

The Haftora opens with Hashem saying that He found favor in us when we were in the desert, and he lead us to rest in Israel. How we will return there, how wonderful things will be, and that we will return as a vast assembly.

In what merit will we return? In the merit of teshuva, returning to Hashem through prayer and supplication. As the verse says, "They will come weeping, with supplications I will lead them." The power of our teshuva, will bring an end to this exile, and it is teshuva that is central to the High Holidays, as the Ten days from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur, are called The Ten Days of Teshuva.

Hashem now addresses the world, and tells them that He will redeem us and that they won't be able to take advantage of us any more. Then Hashem says the most amazing thing, He says, "I will turn their mourning into joy." He doesn't say that He will end our mourning, rather, He will turn our mourning into joy. This means that the actual suffering and pain of the exile will be transformed into joy. The more the suffering in exile, the greater the joy when Moshiach comes.

The Haftora continues, "So says Hashem, 'a voice is heard on high, bitter weeping, Rachel is crying for her children...'" Her cries are so powerful, that Hashem gives in to her, He tells her that she doesn't have to cry any more, "your children will return to their boarder."

it is certain, that our patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, and our other matriarchs, Sarah, Rivka and Leah are crying for us as well. Why are only Rachel's cries heard? Why is she able to break through, while the others could not?

It is because of her great sacrifice. What was her sacrifice?

Many of you know the story. When Yaakov and Rachel were to be married, Yaakov suspected that the unscrupulous Lavan, his future father in law, would put his older daughter, Leah, under the vail. So he and Rachel prepared a secret signal for her to show, so that he would know that it was really her. When Lavan made the switch, Rachel realized how embarrassed Leah would be if she was found out, so she gave her the secret signal. By giving her the signal, she sacrificed everything. First she gave away the man she loved, second, had she married him that day, she would have possibly been his only wife and the mother of all the tribes. She also gave up the ability to be with Yaakov, which was not only a physical sacrifice, but a spiritual loss as well, because Yaakov was such a holy man.

By giving the signal to her sister, she gave up everything and she didn't hold back the signal from her because of jealousy. This is her argument to Hashem, this is what she is crying for her children. If I, a mere mortal, was not jealous of my sister, and gave her the secret signal, then Hashem, who doesn't have jealousy, because He is way beyond that, should not be jealous that the Jewish people served false gods. And with this cry, she accomplishes what no one else could, that her children will return to their boarder.

Then, as He does throughout the Haftora, Hashem uses Efraim to mean the Jewish people. Why? First, because he was the main tribe of Yosef, who was the first Jew forced into exile. Second, because Efraim was born in exile, in Egypt, before the Jewish people came down there. Third, because the tribe of Efraim was the leader of the ten northern tribes, who were sent into exile first, during the First Temple era.

Hashem says, "Isn't Efraim my beloved son? Isn't he a precious child?... I surely will have compassion on him, says G-d." This beloved verse, is part of the Rosh Hashanah liturgy, it is always said in a beautiful melodic tune, and the congregation usually joins in. In this verse Hashem describes his love and affection for us, and that when He thinks of us, He is moved.

Hashem loves us so much, and he will have compassion and redeem us. The message here for Rosh Hashanah, is that through teshuva and true sacrifice we can bring Moshiach.

With all this said, we have all sacrificed enough already. May Hashem show His love for us, and send Moshiach right away. 

Have a happy and sweet year.

In honor of my wife Dina, whose daily sacrifices for me and the family is what keeps us together and strong. I don't know what we would do without her.

For the first day of Rosh Hashanah - The Power Of Chana's Prayer


  1. Thank you for writing such inspiration and moving words each post. You give so much chizuk to all your followers. May hashem answer all yours and your family's tefilos this rosh Hashanah. Ksiva vchasima tova and a gut gbenched yar! Continue shinning your special light and sharing your words of wisdom

  2. Shana Tova, thanks for being the most positive person. I enjoy reading when I can, it really helps my life and helps me understand more. May HaShem bless you and your family, have a great year.

  3. Thank so much for your blog. There is so much tenderness in your words that help me on my journey