From a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah, 5739 (1978), Sichos in English Vol. 2
Torah Law considers the two days of Rosh Hashanah as “one long day”. The Previous Rebbe stressed that the expression used, “day”, was chosen carefully. The term ‘day’ communicates the concept of brightness and light. All forty-eight hours of Rosh Hashanah are permeated with light.1 The concept stretches beyond the abstract realm but has many practical ramifications. Since Rosh Hashanah is one long ‘day’, the Previous Rebbe
counseled his followers to minimize the time spent sleeping on Rosh Hashanah.
Even though the existence of night and darkness on Rosh Hashanah is an observable phenomenon (and recognized by Torah Law as well),2 from a spiritual perspective, that darkness is subordinate to the primary quality which is one of brightness and illumination.
Particularly after the Previous Rebbe had revealed that concept and stressed the idea of Rosh Hashanah consisting of 48 hours of day, we, his followers, must spread the idea throughout the world and publicize it in whatever ways possible. These activities will hasten the coming of Mashiach.3
Implied within the concept of Rosh Hashanah being a 48-hour day is that the day of its conclusion affects the first day as well. This year, the second day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Tuesday. In the Torah narrative of creation, Tuesday (the third day) is distinguished from all the other days of the week. The Torah records the expression “and Gd saw it was good” twice on that day.
Commenting on that fact, the Talmud explains that the repetition of the expression “Gd saw that it was good” refers to two types of good: Tov lashamayim and Tov labrios — good to heavens (i.e., in matters between man and Gd) and good to the creations (good in matters between man and man).
During the last year (particularly on Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Shuvah) that concept was underscored at great length. As mentioned in the previous farbrengen, it is our responsibility now to compensate for the deficiencies of the service of previous years.4 Therefore, the aspects of ‘Tov lashamayim’ and ‘Tov labrios’ which were unfulfilled must be completed.
The term ‘La-brios’ also refers to the non-Jews. They also are judged on Rosh Hashanah and are given the powers to fulfill their task of assisting and enabling Jews to observe Torah and Mitzvos.
In particular, this refers to the situation in Eretz Yisrael5 “the land where the eyes of the Lrd are upon it, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year”.
In Messianic times, the gentiles will express their raison d’être and help the Jews learn Torah and fulfill Mitzvos. May that situation also prevail in these final days of Galus and may the strength of those actions hasten the coming of Mashiach speedily in our days.
1. This aspect of light was emphasized on the first Rosh Hashanah (the day of man’s creation). During the following night, there was no darkness.
2. Since the purpose of Torah is to elevate and refine the world, it envelops itself within the boundaries and limitation of worldly experience, in order to internalize therein sanctity and holiness.
3. The Rambam writes that the greatness of the Messianic era will extend beyond merely the Jewish people’s achievement of national autonomy and freedom. The ultimate goal of the Messianic era will be the ability to study Torah and fulfill Mitzvos. Then Torah study will be on a higher level and in the Rambam’s words, “Then the Jewish people will appreciate the knowledge of their Creator”. The Alter Rebbe codifies the law that on Erev Shabbos one is required to taste the food prepared for the Sabbath (and one must taste from every dish).
The same principle applies in a figurative sense. The food (a commonly used metaphor for Torah) of the Messianic era (the Sabbath of the entire chronicle of time) must be tasted Erev Shabbos (in the time immediately preceding Mashiach’s coming). Now, one must taste the levels of awareness and understanding to be taught by Mashiach. These insights were revealed by the previous Rebbeim in their Maamarim and likewise in their instructions for behavior.
4. The Hebrew word meaning to compensate, ‘lehashlim’, can also be translated as ‘bring to completion and perfection’. A Jew’s service has to rise beyond mere compensation, i.e., fulfilling needs and lacks which are present but must also lead him to self-perfection and completion. The same principle applies in the realm of tzedakah. There is one level of tzedakah which fulfills the person’s needs. A second goes beyond those needs and
will even make the recipient rich.
The same principle applies regarding the judgment of the Jewish people. The Talmud explains that if one says he will provide food for a Jewish worker, he must specify the type of meal he will feed him. If it is not specified, one will never fulfill his obligation because every Jew, because he is the son of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or the daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah, deserves more than the greatest feasts of King Solomon. Similarly, they deserve a “Kesivah VaChasimah Tovah” in physical and spiritual things.
5. The Land of Israel relates intrinsically to Rosh Hashanah. Kabbalah explains that Rosh Hashanah deals with the level of “Malchus” in the realm of time. The expression of that level in the realm of space is the land of Israel (and in soul, the Jewish people).
A free translation from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.
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