Rosh Hashana

This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama. 

By Shayna Hulkower

Before tax day there are always articles and offers on how to save you money lower the amount of money you have to pay to the government. Before Yom Kippur there are tips and tricks for how to survive the fast without any discomfort - even from lack of coffee (you don't want to know the secret to halachically ingesting caffeine on a fast day). Interestingly, before Rosh Hashanah there aren't a flood of offers on how to ensure a good judgement. Some things might be easier to guarantee in life than others, but the gemara does talk about one way to secure yourself favorable judgment on Rosh Hashanah. Not only is it the start of the Jewish calendar year, but it is a day of judgement for the whole world. Many things about each individual Jew's life are decided on this day, including how much money they will earn.

The great mussar Rabbi, Rav Wolbe, does have a suggestion. He's not exactly known for grandiose schemes to help one acquire riches fame, so any suggestions he does have should be valued and seriously considered. Rav Wolbe quotes our Sages in the gemara, who say that one who overlooks another Jew's transgressions will similarly have his or her own transgressions overlooked by G-d on the Day of Judgement.

What does that mean, practically? If someone makes a judgemental comment to you about a mutual friend or acquaintance - don't judge them. Or if someone gets irrationally angry at you, don't respond back with anger. If your roommate or girlfriend or sibling does the thing that you asked them a million times not to do, just keep cool. Every time we mitigate our emotions and refrain from being angry or mean (both aveirot), then we are emulating G-d, who also acts with savlanut, patience, when we behave in an inappropriate manner, or flat-out commit a transgression.

Not only will this help us receive favorable judgement on Rosh Hashanah, but these are very important acts of self-restraint that can only help us to grow as people. Before you know it, not getting angry will be second nature! Shana Tova u'Metuka to all.

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