Ushering in 5782
I was blessed to have been able to be in Uman for Rosh Hashanah, and I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts that I had while I was there.
After my late wife was נפטרת (passed away) eight years ago on 13 Tishrei, I went to visit my mashpia (spiritual guide) before I left Eretz Yisrael. He asked me, “What are you going to do now?” I answered that I was going back to LA, and back to my practice.
He said, “You don’t understand my question. Your wife was sick for 25 years. You loved her, nurtured her, fed her, and did everything you could to help her get well. And when you finished your job, Hashem took her back. So NOW— what are you going to do? What is your job? What is your tachlis (purpose in life)?”
This is the question that all of us have when we lose someone close to us, someone special; we must do all that we can to help make those whom we love, those who are important to us, comfortable. But if and when Hashem takes them back, we need to say thank you to Hashem for the privilege of having given me the special time with this beautiful person, and now that they’ve finished their job they’ve moved on to their next world. But we who remain here must now ask ourselves, “What is my job now?”
The same is true in a more general sense whenever we face a transition from one life circumstance to another. We just ushered in a new year, the year of 5782. This transition calls for us to reflect and ask ourselves, “How has my role changed in this new year?”
Last year was 5781- תשפ”א. The last two letters form the word אף (anger). And boy, was it a year of Divine anger. But now it’s a new year, a new world — 5782, תשפ”ב. The last two letters of this new year have the gematria (numerical value) of 82, the same as the gematria of הללוהו (praise Him).
In chapter 150 of Tehillim (Psalms), the word הללוהו (halleluhu- praise Him) is mentioned nine times, corresponding to the nine months of the year when we don’t have a mitzvah (commandment) to go to Yerushalayim to see and be seen by the Shechinah (the dwelling of G-d’s presence). However, there are three other times in Tehillim 150 where the verse explicitly says “Praise G-d,” mentioning His name. These correspond to the three months that each have a regel (festival)- and thus the commandment to go up to the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple)!
This then is the antidote, the medicine to heal the Divine wrath of last year. Know Him, see Him and PRAISE Him in all your ways, and He’ll lovingly remember us for life and health, even when we are in times when things are not easy.