New year's message

 
 
Message from the Rebbe for Rosh Hashanah 5769
 
As we approach the New Year, may Hashem immediately inscribe all of you in the book of the “completely righteous” for a good, long life and all good things.  Amen.

 

Interestingly, the coming holiday is referred to as Rosh Hashanah meaning the head of the year, as opposed to T'chilas Hashanah, which would mean the beginning of the year.  This can be explained as follows:  Within every individual, there exist two competing drives, each vying for supremacy and domination over the other.  These are the intellect of the brain versus the emotion of the heart.  Each seeks to subjugate the other.  The heart (emotion) works to draw us towards base desires and material matters--for example, eating things that are not kosher (chas v’Sholom), stealing, lying, and so forth.  Further, the heart seeks to use the intellect to achieve its objectives.

 

On the other hand, the brain (intellect) seeks to exert control over man; to influence him to live and conduct himself according to the dictates of our holy Torah so that he will have a life filled with love of Torah and fear of heaven.  The intellect seeks to harness the passion of the heart and sublimate it into the service of the Holy One, blessed be His Name, and thereby merit good and eternal life.

 

It is for this reason that we refer to this coming holiday as “Rosh Hashana,” the head of the year.  Immediately, upon entering the New Year, we accept upon ourselves the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and resolve that this year, the head (brain and intellect) will be the master that rules over our heart and bodily desires.  Therefore, we also pray “May it be the will of Hashem that we should be reckoned as the head and not the tail” (Yehi ratzon sh'neehiyeh l'rosh v'lo l'zanav).  Put simply, our bodies should be steered by our heads and not vice versa.

 

We would also suggest that this is a reason the Jewish people are called Yisroel.  The Hebrew letters of the word Yisroel can be rearranged to spell the words li rosh,I have a head.”  This serves to constantly remind us that our head should rule over our emotions.

 

May it be the will of the Al-mighty that we merit the uplifting of our minds amidst abundant blessings and the uplifting of the glory of the Jewish people.  And, may the Honor of Hashem fill the whole world with the coming of our righteous Moshiach speedily in our days.  Amen.

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