Our Rosh Ha’Shanah to-do list has many items on it but, unfortunately, 99% of us forget the most important thing of all. We make sure to buy special round challot, sweet delicious honey, apples, pomegranates and a fish head. We purchase a new fruit for the second night plus make sure to have enough wine, grape-juice, chicken and meat. We polish our shoes, clean our kittel (for those who wear one) and dust off our machzorim. We arrange seats in the shul, get ready for Tashlich and start humming our favorite Rosh Ha’Shanah melodies. Yes, we will be ready for those great and awesome two days. The problem with everything I just listed is that – while important to do – they are all secondary to the main, most important task of all.
I have talked to thousands of Jews, good Jews who really try their best, but most of them fail to answer this basic question: What is our #1 job on Rosh Ha’Shanah? Hint: the answer has nothing to do with the shofar, teshuva or listening to the chazzan. Our task – above everything else – is to crown Hashem as King of the world!
One second here; I know what you’re thinking. “Little old, insignificant me is going to crown Ha’kadosh Baruch Hu as King? Who am I to do such a job? I can barely stay awake during the Rabbi’s speech… and now you want me to crown Hashem King? Thanks for the nice compliment but you really need to find somebody else. Who am I?”
Dearest friend, stop right there! Don’t ever say those words “who am I”?? You are a Jew, hand-picked by Hashem over 99.9% of the world to be His child. You are part of the chosen people with a special soul that gives you a direct connection to the Creator of the world so stop with the false modesty. Yes, we are told to be humble and modest but that applies only to our private lives. When dealing with our role as part of the nation of Israel, we are not allowed to be humble! We have a job to do and we accept the responsibility given to us.
Therefore, each one of us can and must declare that Hashem is King. We don’t need to be a prophet, tzaddik or talmid chacham. We don’t need to a Rav/Rebbetzin or learn Daf Yomi. All we need is one thing; To be a part of the Jewish Nation!
But now comes the hard part. How do we do it? How do we declare Hashem – King of the world? Its easy to dip an apple in honey or listen to 100 shofar blasts but how does a human being declare that Hashem is King? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think.
Our relationship with Hashem is truly unique. Yes, He is our King but we refer to Him as much more than that; “Avinu Malkeynu” – Our Father, Our King. Simply put, Hashem is not just our King… Hashem is also our Father! Do you realize what that means? Since Hashem is our King but also our Father, that makes every one of us a prince or princess! This is not just a nice sentence… it’s the 100% absolute truth! Every Jewish man is a Prince and every Jewish woman is a Princess and understanding this is key to fulfilling our task on Rosh Ha’Shanah.
We all know what the “paparazzi” are. They run after famous people snapping pictures in restaurants, at the gym or even on vacation. Because of the paparazzies, these famous people need to always be on their best behavior as an embarrassing picture can wind up on the internet as well as the front page of the morning paper. I often think about movie stars who can’t take their dog for a walk without 37 crazy photographers snapping away. However, the craziest ones of all, who didn’t become celebrities by choice, but were born into it are the Princes of England; Charles, William, Henry and now even little George. These guys did not star in a movie or score the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl… they were born into royalty and from that very first day, the world is watching their every move.
Do you know who is even a bigger prince than William and Henry? You, my fellow Jew! These young men are princes to flesh and blood but every one of us are princes and princesses to the King of Kings and if you think 1,000 cameras are watching them, you have no idea how many are watching us! Want to know why Israel is always on page one of every newspaper in the world? It’s because it is populated by millions of princes! Want to know why halacha mandates how a Jew is to dress, eat and act in public? It is because he/she is the son/daughter of the King and what is acceptable for the general population is not acceptable to one who is a prince or princess.
This is the attitude we must have because that is how to crown Hashem as King… by realizing that you are the prince! Once you realize it, you must then start to act as one, not with arrogance, but with honor, dignity and a sense of responsibility that everything you say and do reflects on the King. We must do this as individuals and we must certainly do this as a Nation. No more begging for acceptance in the UN… a nation of princes does not do that! No more deals with the enemy… a prince is strong because the King stands at his side! Finally, no more apologizing to the media because we explain our actions to the King and only the King.
This is the attitude we must have starting on Rosh Ha’shanah and throughout the year. As we say in Mussaf; “Hashem the G-d of Israel, is King, and His Kingship rules over everything” (ArtScroll Machzor). What a privilege it is that we have been chosen to make that proclamation and teach it to the world. Let’s take our job – and ourselves – seriously. Shana Tova!