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Friday, Elul 27, 5782 / September 23, 2022


This Shabbat, the last Shabbat of the year 5782, we read Parshat Nitzavim. This Parsha is always read before Rosh Hashana. These are Moshe’s words to the Jewish people on the day of his passing when he turned 120.


Nitzavim” means to stand firm.We read it on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana to indicate that as we go into the Day of Judgment, we are firm that G-d will judge us favorably and we stand before G-d assured that He will grant us a Shana Tova – a Happy and healthy New Year.   


Q.  Why is it that on Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgment, we do not fast, while on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we do fast?


A.In Scriptures (Nechemia 8:9-10) it states that after returning from the first exile, Ezra the Scribe, gathered the Jewish people on Rosh Hashana and read the Torah to them.  Upon hearing his words, the people’s hearts were stirred to repentance, and they wept. 


Ezra told them, “This day is holy to the L-rd, do not mourn or weep…Go eat and drink sweets, send portions of food to those who have not prepared, for this day is holy unto the L-rd.   Do not be saddened, for the joy of G-d is your strength…” Eating and drinking on Rosh Hashana is an expression of our confidence and faith in G-d that He will judge us favorably and as a result we eat and drink for we have nothing to fear.


Fasting on Yom Kippur is a sign that our sins are forgiven.  Just as angels have no sins and do not need food, so too, we do not need food on Yom Kippur, because we are without sin, like angels.  


Q.  What is the significance in that the Shofar is blown from the narrow end?


A.  One of the verses from the Psalms recited before the sounding of the Shofar is, "Out of distress I called to G-d; with abounding relief, G-d answered me." The narrow side of the Shofar represents our call of distress; the wide end, represents G-d's answering our call with abounding relief.


Q.According to Jewish Law (Halacha), why is it preferable that the one who leads the services on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur should be a married person with a family.


A.  The Torah says that the High Priest who performed the service in the Holy Temple on Yom Kippur had to be a married man.  One who has a family prays with more intention and more caring as he is also responsible for his wife and children.  He understands the responsibility of caring for others.  Our sages felt that a cantor who has a family will be more serious and atte


ntive.  He will pray with more dedication and responsibility for the welfare of his congregation.




Montreal Shabbat candle lighting time: 6:32 / Shabbat ends: 7:32