Rosh Hashana 5767

This Shabbos we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of our New Year. Tradition tells us that there are ten days of repentance beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur. During these ten days, we try our best to correct mistakes we may have made over the past year. During the last eight days of this period, our prayers contain many different wordings acknowledging our sins. This makes sense because the first ingredient of repentance must be recognizing our sins. On Rosh Hashanah, however, we are taught that it is forbidden to even mention our sins. This seems rather strange. How can there be two days of repentance without acknowledgement of error? More so, why is it prohibited during these days to mention sins we have done? The answer can be understood with the following parable: A soldier deserted his unit in Iraq, stole a jeep, broke into a store, and committed several other felonies. He also sold military secrets to Al-Qaeda. When he is caught, the first charges brought against him will not concern stealing or any similar felony. He will first be court marshaled for treason. Only after he manages to convince the judges of his loyalty to the government will they then examine the other charges against him. We too, are in a similar situation on Rosh Hashanah. Certainly there are many individual deeds that we have or have not done that we must account for. At the some time, however, there is a much more pressing issue. Were we loyal servants of Hashem? Did our deeds perfectly reflect a loyal subject? This is the essence of repentance on Rosh Hashanah. We spend two days totally enveloped in acknowledging the Kingdom of Hashem. In particular, this is the concept of the shofar as we coronate and accept the rule of our King. Only after we have accepting his dominion over us, do we then spend the next eight days examining our individual deeds. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!! Rabbi Moshe Travitsky