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Proud to be Jewish

by Ozer Bergman

Dvar Torah for Rosh HaShanah

Proud to be Jewish

We’re on the threshold of Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment, when we’re scrutinized, weighed in the balance and then written down for a good year (hopefully), all in less time than it took to read this sentence.

Rosh HaShanah is two days long not because God needs that much time to figure out what to do for you or because that’s how long it takes some people to complete reciting their gimme list. That it is that long, gives you time to think it through: what do I need to change and how?

Rosh HaShanah time, many people think there is a correlation between how good they’ve been (or promise to be) and how much good God will shower upon them. That is not currently the case. Prosperity is often granted to villains but denied to tzaddikim. Free will would be lacking and Creation could not serve its purpose if the results of one’s behavior were obvious. But I digress.

Nonetheless, we all need to improve our behavior, speech and attitudes. We should deepen our belief and trust in God, our faith in all that is kadosh (sacred) and our other religious sentiments. But in many ways these are mere symptoms. To accomplish long-lasting teshuvah (return to God) we need to find out what is missing at the root.

At some point in history, God foresaw that He would have immense pride in the Jewish people. He foresaw that He would have immense pride in every single Jew including you, dear Jewish reader. He also foresaw that He would have immense pride in every part of you, every day. All this foreseen God-pride in the Jews is a root of Creation. The root of the problem is that God saw it coming, but we don’t!

When we inventory our lives, we see what needs repair: talking in shul, eating non-kosher, wasting time, paying interest on a loan, disrespecting our parents and whatever else. So we try to come up with strategies for keeping our mouths shut, for being less distracted and more efficient, etc. Yet the root of our Jewishness failures is our being unaware that God so much wants to take pride in us that He created the world—and continues to re-create it! Our awareness of this grows when we ask questions like, “Does fighting with my spouse or neighbors induce God-pride in me? Is my carelessness in keeping Shabbat and Torah study the pride He foresaw?” Reckoning whether or not a behavior or attitude makes God proud of you, in itself makes God proud!

But that’s not all. Because God has pride in the Jewish people, today exists! North America, South America and Asia, the galaxies and all they contain, all exist. Because of God’s pride in some Jew’s conduct today, a slice of today exists. Thanks to God’s pride in a second Jew, a gentle breeze will blow somewhere in the Land of Israel. Got that? Because of God’s pride in you, today, some aspect of Creation exists now. And because of tomorrow’s pride, some part will exist tomorrow.

Here’s more good news. Since a piece of Creation exists thanks to the Jewish-pride you generate, God “generates” you. Since He wants the pride, He wants to bless you with health and prosperity today, tomorrow and all year long. So correct the root and deliver the pride; then your requests are more justified.

Reb Noson makes us aware of a fundamental point. All of God’s latent pride in us Jews, as a nation and as individuals, hinges on shalom. Shalom starts with tzedakah (charity), which includes: giving charity, lending money interest-free, doing favors, doing business honestly and pleasantly, and a willingness to relinquish some of one’s due for the sake of peace.

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Toan v’Nitan 5:2, 6

tikateivu v’teichateimu l’alter l’chaim tovim u’l’shalom b’sifran shel tzaddikim!
May you and yours be immediately written and sealed for good life and peace in the Book of Tzaddikim!

© Copyright 2011 Breslov Research Institute

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