Sign up to TorahFax


Thursday, Elul 21, 5780 / September 10, 2020


The New Year 5781, will begin next week, Friday night September 18. Yom Kippur will be Sunday night, September 27 & Monday, September 28.


Rosh Hashana is the universal Day of Judgment, and Yom Kippur, the Day of forgiveness.


Q.  What special event happened on Rosh Hashana that it became the annual Day of Judgment?


A.  In the Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer says that Rosh Hashana is celebrated on the day when Adam and Eve were created. On that same day, which was the sixth day of creation, they ate from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and they were judged by G-d. G-d punished them and they were banned from the Garden of Eden. As a result, G-d chose that day as the Day of Judgment.


Q.   Why was Yom Kippur established as the Day of Forgiveness?


A.   When the Jewish people sinned with the Golden Calf, G-d wanted to punish them severely. As a result, Moshe, on his way down from Mount Sinai broke the Tablets. 


Moshe went up Mount Sinai again and pleaded with G-d for forgiveness for the people.  After forty days of intense praying, G-d told Moshe that He will forgive the Jewish people and instructed him to bring up a second set of Tablets. G-d then inscribed the Ten Commandments on the Tablets which Moshe brought up. On the tenth day of Tishrei, Moshe came down the mountain with the Second Tablets and with them came G-d’s forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf – the gravest of all sins.


G-d then established the tenth day in Tishrei as Yom Kippur – the day of forgiveness for all generations.


Q.   Are all sins forgiven on Yom Kippur?


A.  Only sins committed against G-d are forgiven. However, sins committed against others, are not forgiven until we ask forgiveness from the other party.


Two other historical events took place on Rosh Hashana:  1) Joseph, who was imprisoned for twelve years in Egypt, was freed on Rosh Hashana and became ruler of Egypt.


2) The Jewish people who were enslaved in Egypt, although they were not completely freed until Passover, yet, their bondage and hard labor, ended six months earlier, on Rosh Hashana of that year.


As the year 5781 is about to leave may it also take with it all the difficulties we experienced during the year. May the New Year usher in a new beginning of good health, success and Nachas. Amen.