|The Torah Connection: Adam’s Sin & Rosh Hashanah|
|Written by Rabbi Yaakov Shlomo Weinberg|
The days from Rosh Hashonoh to Yom Kippur inclusively are called the Ten Days of T’shuvah (Repentance). The question arises how is Rosh Hashonoh a part of these days. Full t’shuvah cannot be achieved without veedui (a verbal – though private – confession of one’s sins). However, verbal veedui is prohibited on Rosh Hashonoh
. Also, we don’t see any part of the Service of Rosh Hashonoh dealing with t’shuvah. Rather the Service consists of (A) proclaiming Hashem’s (G-d’s) Kingdom and Dominion over the entire world and includes our desire, wish and prayers that Hashem will speedily make known through Moshiach, His Kingship. (B) That Hashem remembers all His creatures, all their actions and the covenants He made with them, and judges, based on these criteria. (C) The concept of Shofar and its involvement in the above, the giving of the Torah and the advent of Moshiach. However, t’shuvah in and of itself is not mentioned.
The Reason for Odom’s Sin
Rosh Hashonoh is the anniversary of the creation of Odom. It is also the anniversary of his sin – the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. The question regarding his eating is WHY??!! Rav Dessler zt”l
states that the sin’s core is beyond us. Nevertheless there are surrounding causes that can be understood.
Outside – Inside
Odom’s inclination for doing wrong was at that time not part of his psyche. It was rather “on the outside.” It became a part of him – as we know it – only after the eating
. A present day example of this phenomenon is the usage of drugs (dope). Before one gets started he has no desire whatever for the drugs. The enticement is from the outside – peer pressure, to show off, or whatever. Once hooked, however, it can become his strongest passion. It is now inside, a part of his makeup.
Short Time Bechirah
It is also brought down that the time span for Odom’s bechirah (freedom of choice) was only for a few hours. When Shabbos would come later that evening (he was created on Friday), his bechirah would be finished and Olom Habo’oh (the Eternal World) would begin
L’fum Tza’aroh Agroh
Odom was not happy with this situation. To his mind it was too easy. We have a rule that l’fum tza’aroh agroh (according to the pain is the reward)
. A corollary to this is that one time fighting with one’s opposing inclinations is worth 100 times without opposing inclinations
. He was also not happy with the short time span of bechirah (freedom of choice) of only a few hours. He, therefore, decided to eat of the Tree of Knowledge Good and Bad in order to accomplish just that.
Sort of like a person getting hooked on drugs in order to have the challenge of kicking the habit. He felt that in this way he would become closer to Hashem after mightily battling his inclinations when they were a part of him. In fact he felt that this was what Hashem really wanted from him.
Why Not – A Story
Where did Odom err? His question was very powerful. If because of l’fum tza’aroh agroh a person gets more s’char (reward) in the future eternal world and becomes even closer, because of it, to Hashem, why indeed would Hashem prohibit it? The truth, however, was the opposite. He passed by the greatest l’fum tza’aroh agroh possible.
In this day of mega buck lottery jackpots the sum stood at 400 million dollars. On Friday the winning number was published in the paper. On Shabbos Shmuel was going somewhere when he happened to notice a lottery ticket laying in the gutter. Having an excellent memory he stared at it and instantly recognized that this indeed was the winning number. Someone had lost it. 400 million thoughts went through Shmuel’s mind. He would now be able, as would his children and grandchildren, to sit and learn for 120 years. He would support umpteen Kollelim and Yeshivos, feed and clothe thousands of the poor and destitute, give millions to Lev L’Achim, Chinuch Atzmoi and Oorah. In short, this was his ticket to an eternal red carpeted road to Olom Habo’oh (the future world). There was however a “slight” problem. The eruv was down. He could not carry. Let’s even say it was not in a R’shus Horabim which is forbidden by the Torah but a Carmelis, a place where it is only forbidden by the rabbis. He already had his foot on the ticket – he would keep it there for the next six hours till after Shabbos. But he couldn’t. He was in a rough neighborhood and several of its citizens had already asked him what he wanted just standing there. He would have to forget about it and leave. But … but … but …
The Greatest L’fum Tza’aroh Agroh
THERE IS NO GREATER L’FUM TZA’AROH AGROH THAN THIS – THAT ONE IS WILLING TO GIVE UP A TREMENDOUS POTENTIAL FOR OLOM HABO’OH ETERNALLY BECAUSE HASHEM SAID NO … BECAUSE THE RABBIS SAID NO. THIS IN AND OF ITSELF WILL GAIN HIM THE OLOM HABO’OH THAT HE HAD WILLINGLY GIVEN UP.
“A Man’s Heart Has Many Thoughts”
Odom felt that through battling his inner inclinations for a lifetime he would gain a much greater eternal reward than the several hours of mastering just the outer inclinations. However, Hashem had said “no” and “There is neither wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against Hashem.”
If he would have been willing to give up what he considered more Olom Habo’oh because Hashem said “no,” he would have earned the greatest l’fum tza’aroh agroh possible. He would have willingly given up his own benefits for Hashem’s “sake.” “With this one bechirah, Odom would have been able to achieve in several hours what it now will take six thousand years to achieve.”
The T’shuvah of Rosh Hashonoh
Because of his desire for what he mistakenly thought would bring him more s’char (reward) Odom allowed base and evil inclinations, desires and passions to engulf the world. The posuk (verse) says, “… years will arrive of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’”
“These are the days of Moshiach when there will no longer be any reward for one’s actions.”
This is because the will and inclination – the evil domination – will be removed from the world. There will therefore no longer be any s’char since there will no longer be any challenge to doing good – no more l’fum tza’aroh agroh.
Atoning for Odom
When we daven (pray) for the advent of Moshiach we are doing the opposite of Odom and thereby atoning for what he did. He, in order to receive more reward, allowed the memsheles zodon (evil domination) to enter the world. When we daven for Moshiach we are asking for a cessation of the evil domination even though that will mean a cessation of our ability to receive more reward. On Rosh Hashonoh – the anniversary of Odom’s chait (sin) – we say, “And so too Hashem … instill Your awe … Your dread … and iniquity will close its mouth and all wickedness will evaporate like smoke … remove evil’s domination from the earth.”
The Ten Days of T’shuvah
This is why Rosh Hashonoh is part of the ten days of T’shuvah. On Rosh Hashonoh we atone for Odom’s sin. The other eight days everyone does their own personal reckoning.
The Nefesh Hachaim
“Our eyes see that the text of the Rosh Hashonoh prayers is set from beginning to end only for the honor of Hashem’s Kingdom that it should rise as before the sin of Odom.”
A number of weeks ago we asked the question as to why we daven for Moshiach since after Moshiach comes there will be no more schar for doing mitzvos? According to the above, the question is fully answered.
1 Orach Chaim, Simon 584, Mishna B’rurah Sif Koton 3
2 Book 2 p. 137
3 Rashi Genesis 2:2; Ramban ibid 2:9; Nefesh Hachayim Gate 1 chap. 6
4 Ramchal, Da’as T’vunos chap. 40
5 Pirkei Avos, end of chapter 5
6 Mori V’Rebbi Hamashgiach zt”l. It is of course prohibited to make things more difficult as we will see from Odom himself. See Bais Halevy, Ki Siso, regarding the Golden Calf.
7 As explained by the Madreigas Ho’odum (Der Alter M’Nevarhadok part 1 p. 3)
8 Proverbs 21:30
9 Michtav Me’Eliyahu Book 2 p. 152 in the name of the Gra; Ramchal in Daas Tvunos chap. 40
10 Ecclesiastes 12:1
11 Tractate Shabbos 151 folio 2
12 See Tractate Succoh 52 folio 1; Ramban Deuteronomy 30:6; Daas Tvunos Simon 40.
13 From the Rosh Hashonoh amidah
14 Nefesh Hachaim Gate 2 chap. 11