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Hello and welcome! This page provides a weekly commentary from the rabbi and other information from his office.

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Rosh Hashanah Musings

Image Dear Friends;

As we approach the great and awesome days ahead, I thought to share a story I recently came across which truly encapsulates the very essence of the appropriate feelings and approach we should be having at this precious time.

A member of the famous 'White Shul' in NY had contracted a rare disease and become very ill, the doctors had given him only a few weeks to live. R’ Schachter, the assistant rabbi of the synagogue at the time was asked to go visit him in the hospital. Over 3 hours the man recounted his entire life story, at the end of the visit he began weeping uncontrollably. After calming down he said: "I am responsible for my predicament, for you see every time someone would wish me עד מאה ועשרים שנה may you live until 120, I would respond, Let’s just get to 85 and then we will renegotiate.” The patient went on to say, “I’m now 84 – this Rosh Hashana is my 85th birthday. If I wouldn’t have been so blasé about the Bracha עמו”ש, then I wouldn’t be in this situation now. I don’t even think I will make it to Rosh Hashana.”

R’ Shachter was stumped on how to respond.

The next day he bumped into 2 distinguished Rabbi's and asked them how they would have responded. The first said, "I would have told the man that G-d only pays close attention to men like Moshe Rabbenu, not regular men, so you don’t have to worry about that being the reason for your illness. But R’ Schachter wasn’t satisfied with that answer. He then met Rav Aharon Kahn, one of the Rashei Yeshiva at YU and Rabbi of a prominent synagogue in Flatbush, who said the following – I would have told the man, “Fine, so now is the time to renegotiate.”

Rosh Hashana is a time to say Shehechiyanu and give thanks to G-d that we have reached yet another year, but simultaneously it is also an opportune time we cannot afford to miss, to pray appropriately and renegotiate for the future.

May you be inscribed B'Sifram Shel Tzadikim V'Chasidim in the book of life, a year full of health, parnasah, chaim tovim v'Shana Tova Umevurechet!

Tizku l'shanim rabot neimot v'tovot;
Rabbi Shlomo Gabay