The Day We Didn’t Blow

Certainly, one of the highlights of Rosh Hashanah is blowing the shofar. We are familiar with the 100 blasts that must be made in a specific way and everyone is always present for this event. And if someone can’t come to shul then arrangements are made so that they will hear the shofar. However, this year we won’t hear the shofar on the first day, Shabbos because the Sages were concerned that perhaps the shofar might be carried and that would be a desecration of Shabbos.

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In Parshas Vayeilech the Torah foretells that after the passing of Moshe the people will rebel and not harken to the mitzvos as they had previously done. Tragedy will befall the nation and eventually they will realize that they are punished for their iniquity. Bemoaning their fate, they will declare that because Hashem does not reside with us, we are subject to these misfortunes.

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Give and Get

The mitzvah to bring the first fruits to the Beis Hamikdash is very intriguing. We are commanded not only to bring them but additionally to declare that we have fulfilled the mitzvah in its entirety. Do we make the same declaration when we bring sacrifices to the Beis Hamikdash? We should be stating that we have brought the offering in accordance with the laws that pertain to that mitzvah!

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Climbing the Mountain

In our culture, summer overtakes our senses and we feel free and unrestricted. Certainly, we attend shul daily, have our regular classes in various topics of Torah, enjoy Shabbos meals combined with summer activities. The pressure of serving Hashem as we do the rest of the year is lessened and we spend a lot of time just relaxing.

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Surmounting The Challenge

It is interesting to note that although when the people approached Shmuel the prophet to appoint a king he was upset nonetheless there is a mitzvah to have a king. There seems to be a paradoxical situation where we shouldn’t have it yet if we do, then it’s a mitzvah. Furthermore, the Talmud states that there were three mitzvos that we were commanded to do when we entered into the Land of Israel.

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Where It’s All At

We are prohibited from offering sacrifices randomly wherever we want. We must bring them to the Beis Hamikdash and offer them on the altar that is specifically prepared for that role. Chasam Sofer quotes his Rebbe, the Hafla’ah, who explains that this an allusion to the Sanhedrin, the ‘think tank’ of the nation where the greatest Talmudic scholars gathered and rendered their halachic decision which define our nation’s very character.

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The parsha discusses the many attributes of Hashem. One is that He is our praise. Does that mean that we should praise Him or is there another meaning to this verse? Netziv cites the Talmud that the great Sage Rabbi Elazar ben Pedas was very engrossed in learning. Therefore, when he left the upper marketplace in Tzipori and trekked down to the lower area, his robe was still entangled in the upper area.

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The Ultimate Connection

Shabbos connects us with Hashem as we focus on the creation of the universe from a total nothing to what it is now, full of galaxies, super novas, our solar system, the incredible resources that we have available to us on this planet and the myriad types of creatures that populate the world. We are the recipients of wonderful gifts that abound all around us.

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The Best Offense Is A Good Defense

To state that we are living in precarious times would be the understatement of the century. The events that occur on a daily basis are obscure and although we place our trust in Hashem that His plan is only for our good, we shudder often at what we are viewing. Political unrest, governmental breakdown at the highest levels, a total lack of respect for the truth, corruption amongst our investigative organizations and the list continues to grow.

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