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You Are Good. You Are Very Good.

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 8:07 pm

Question of the Week:

 

We have this silly debate every year. Do we eat apples dipped in honey only on the first night of Rosh Hashana, or also on the second? I think it is just the first but I can't remember why...

 

Answer:

 

You can eat apples and honey any time you like. But the custom is to eat them on the first night of Rosh Hashana only. Perhaps we can suggest a deep reason why.

Rosh Hashana is the day Adam and Eve, the first humans, were created. So what was G-d doing the night before? He was about to introduce into the world a dramatic and unprecedented phenomenon - free beings who will be able to determine their own destiny and impact the direction of the world. The long and turbulent relationship between G-d and man was about to start tomorrow morning. So what was going on that fateful night?

The Midrash teaches that on the day man was created, there was a stormy debate in heaven. Some angels were all for the idea, and others were dead against. The Angel of Love supported the creation of man, because people will do acts of love. The Angel of Truth opposed, because people will be full of falsehood. The Angel of Justice argued for the affirmative, claiming that man will bring justice. But the Angel of Peace countered that people will be argumentative and fight all the time.

But all these arguments were useless. G-d had already made up His mind the night before. He declared, "Man is very good." Not just good, but very good. He anticipated the sweetness that humans would generate, and He could already taste the apples (good) and honey (very good) of human goodness. So He created us.

G-d saw the incredible beauty that only humans can create. Yes, we are fallible and imperfect beings, but that just makes our achievements even more special. Every day all over the world, ordinary people do extraordinary things. A busy mother delivers a meal for a family going through a crisis. A group of teenagers bring a smile to their unwell classmate's face. A community comes together to raise funds for a needy couple. A family sits around their kitchen table, and in all the messiness and noise of life, they share the warmth of human caring and goodness of a life with purpose. This is the sweetness G-d tasted before He made us, which is why He made us.

So like G-d, we eat apples and honey the night of the new year. We declare in advance that things are going to be good. Very good. Our life is very good. Our world is very good. Our children are very good. And we are very good. If G-d believes in us, knowing our imperfections, we can believe in ourselves too.

Good Shabbos and Good Yomtov, may you be inscribed in the book of life for a good and sweet new year!
Rabbi Moss

 

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