Centennial Edition - Flipbook - Page 2
Since we don’t, in this world, have the power of Techias HaMeisim (besides isolated stories
in Tanach), to perform teshuvah would have been impossible if not for Hashem, in His
kindness, having given us the ability to tap into that future world through the gift of
teshuvah. That is why we cannot simply be commanded to perform teshuvah like any other
mitzvah. Rather, we are told that there will be a future time when all will perform teshuvah,
and we can connect to that time by this act which, incredibly, is a mitzvah upon us as well.
May we all take full advantage of this gift and opportunity! And may we all be blessed with
a kesiva vechasima tova l’altar l’chaim tovim ul’shalom.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is the founding & current Rosh HaKollel of the Dallas
Community Kollel, DATA, for 30 years. He is the author of several classic halachic
works, including Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso, Maadanei Shlomo and Emes
Vatzedek on Hilchos Geirus. 40 years ago he authored the popular guide to
Ramban al HaTorah, first published in Chicago as a member of HTC’s Bellows
Kollel. He received NCSY's Ben Zakai Award for founding the Semicha Program
for NCSY directors. Rabbi Fried serves as Av Beis Din and Rav of Mikvah Israel of
Dallas, and authors a weekly column, "Ask the Rabbi", for the Texas Jewish Post.
A CONSCIOUS CHOICE
Submitted by Rabbi Yehiel Kalish
"ַה ִע ֹדִת י ָב ֶכם ַה יוֹם ֶא ת ַה ָשׁ ַמ ִים ְוֶא ת ָה ָא ֶר ץ ַה ַח ִיים ְוַה ָמ ֶות ָנַת ִתּ י ְל ָפ ֶניָך ַה ְבּ ָר ָכה ְוַה ְק ָל ָל ה וָּב ַח ְר ָתּ ַבּ ַח ִיּים
י''ט:'ְל ַמ ַע ן ִתּ ְח ֶיה ַא ָתּ ה ְוַזְר ֶע ָך " ְד ָב ִר ים ל
“I call the heavens and the earth today to bear witness against you; I have placed
life and death before you, the blessing and the curse; and you shall choose life, so
that you will live, you and your offspring.” Devarim 30:19
Every day when davening the Pesukei D'Zimrah, we conclude with the singing of the
Shiras HaYam. According to the Zohar, by singing this Shirah every day we are forgiven
of all our sins. (Mishnah Berurah O.C. 51, #17) The culmination of the Shirah is the
proclamation "" – "ה' ִיְמ ֹלְך ְל ֹעָל ם ָוֶע דGod will reign for all eternity." Not only do we
conclude with an acknowledgement of the malchus of Hashem Yisborach, but we follow
the opinion of the Ari HaKadosh and say the pasuk twice, and finally translate the pasuk
into Aramaic to make sure it is clear to all what we are saying – and maybe to give us
an incentive to focus. Thus the concept of malchius and acknowledging the rule of
Hashem is not a yearly occurrence but a daily one.
We see in this week's parashah another instance of acknowledging the rulership of Hashem
over Klal Yisrael in the advice given to us from Hashem that we should "choose life". Hashem
lays it all out for us: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before
you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life!" Rav Elya Meir Bloch, in P'ninei
Da'as, asks: What type of choice is this? Rashi explains that Hashem is trying to teach us to
make good choices. Who chooses death over life? Rav Elya Meir goes on to explain that
when given this opportunity to choose life, Klal Yisrael is doing more than choosing life itself.
We are being taught to choose life with Hashem as melech, as our king. Pesukim in
Yechezkel (20:32-33) explain; "And what you have in mind shall never come to pass. When
you say, we will be like the nations...worshiping wood and stone...As I live, declares Hashem, I
will reign over you with a strong hand..." When Hashem puts before us life and death, we are
being asked the following question: Do you want to live a life like the other nations,
worshiping stones, or do you want to actually live? Choose life and bring Hashem into your
home as King!
Over the next ten days we will increase our attention to this concept of bringing
Hashem into our lives as King. This will be a central focus of our tefillos on Rosh
HaShanah, Aseres Y'mei Teshuvah and Yom Kippur. But it doesn't simply end there.
By concluding Pesukei D'Zimrah and Aleinu with the same pasuk of " – "ְוָה ָיה ה' ְל ֶמ ֶל ְך
"and God will be King" – every day, we are reminded of the lesson being taught by
the words "Choose life". We have the opportunity every single day to worship wood
and stones. Even with the daily repeating and translating of ""ה' ִיְמ ֹלְך ְל ֹעָל ם ָוֶע ד, and
the multiple references of Hashem's kingship in our daily prayers, if we're not paying
attention, if we are not "choosing", we very well might miss the opportunity to bring
Hashem into our homes as King. Choosing is an active action – something that
requires focus and attention.