HomeSeptember 2012A New Year Opens Her Gates

A New Year Opens Her Gates

Rashi attributes Amalek’s unprovoked attack on the Children of Israel in the desert by saying, “If you lied with weights and measures, beware of the attacks of the enemy.”  Our eternal enemy – Amalek – arrives when we deal improperly with our fellow man.
There is a clear principle attached to the laws of weights and measures, and the Torah differentiates between one who steals and one who distorts.  The ganav (thief) has a yetzer harah (evil inclination).  To satisfy his needs, he steals and, in committing this sin, must be punished.  But the one who distorts his weights and measures is not at all giving in to the base desires of his yetzer hara; rather, he is cleverly calculating ounce by ounce, the long-term effect of a change in weights.  He is “stealing” tiny, inconsequential amounts from all his customers.  He connives and conspires to outwit the public.  In short, he seems to lack only the belief that God will take care of his family in an honest and orderly fashion.  This is not the act of a desperate thief but, rather, the calculating act of one who lacks simple faith of a believer in God.  Honesty in weights and measures is not just “good business.”  It is the ultimate sigh of emunah (faith) in God.
Emunah is best exemplified by a strong and continuous vigilance in all business dealings.  It is appropriate that before Rosh HaShanah, we intone and absorb the phrase: “Kol mezoinoisov shel adam k’tzivin loi m’Rosh HaShanah ad Rosh HaShanah” (All of man’s provisions are determined for him from Rosh Hashanah to Rosh HaShanah – Gemorra Beitzah).

From the Torah to Your Table
Before the Egyptians afflicted our forefathers, they first mounted a slander campaign against them and made them appear evil in the eyes of others.
Once they had everyone thinking that the Israelites were evil and not worthy of standard human rights could they make their decrees against them; the rest of their people accepted this otherwise unacceptable behavior.
More recently, this was the strategy of the Nazis with their propaganda, vilifying Jews as a prelude to the actual oppression.  It is clearly an effective strategy for people who want to rationalize their mistreatment of or lack of assisting others.   They try to justify their cruelty or apathy by claiming that the other person has done serious wrong and are a terrible menace.
Before accepting these negative reports, it is incumbent upon those hearing them to determine if they are really true.  We must ask ourselves, “What might be motivating this person to relate this negative material?  Perhaps he is fabricating the story or greatly exaggerating what happened in order to justify himself for something he did or would like to do.”

A Final Thought
What should we be thinking about and feeling during the closing Yom Kippur Neilah service?  Quite literally, a world of opportunity lies before us; the shofar’s sound is a climax to our efforts to build a better world for ourselves and our loved ones.
Gmar Tov u’chatimah tovah!

September 2012
Elul 5772 – Tishrei 5773
Candle Lighting Times
and Torah Portions

Saturday, September 1
Torah Portion: Parashat Ki Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)
Friday, September 7
Light candles at 6:50 p.m.
Saturday, September 8
Torah Portion: Parashat Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)
Friday, September 14
Light candles at 6:41 p.m.
Saturday, September 15
Torah Portion: Nitzavim
(Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)
Sunday, September 16
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Light candles at 6:38 p.m.
Monday, September 17
Rosh Hashanah
Light candles after 7:32 p.m.
Friday, September 21
Light candles at 6:31 p.m.
Saturday, September 22
Torah Portion: Vayeilech
(Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)
Tuesday, September 25
Erev Yom Kippur
Light candles at 6:25 p.m.
Friday, September 28
Light candles at 6:21 p.m.
Saturday, September 29
Torah Portion: Ha’Azinu
(Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52)
Sunday, September 30
Erev Sukkot
Light candles at 6:19 p.m.


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