Monday, September 15, 2008

Din Ve'Cheshbon, Yahrtzeits, and Rosh Hashanna

All of mankind is accountable for their acts, and that every one of our actions has consequences. As the Ahm Hanivchar, having been chosen, and having experienced so much revelation, we are under even greater scrutiny than others. When considering the coming days of judgment, we must take a moment to think about the nature and ramifications of the Yemei Hadin.

Chazal tell us that we face Din Ve'Cheshbon, literally, judgment and reckoning. As if judgment weren't enough. What, exactly, does this double expression connote? There are several very interesting interpretations, each of which is true, each of which ought to stimulate a timely self-examination.

There are: The Vilner Gaon; the Beis Halevi; Reb Chaim Brisker/Rav Rudderman; the Brisker Rav, and the Pachad Yitzchak, (not Rav Hutner) by Rav Yitzchak Lampronti, the Rebbi of the Ramchal.

Bli neder, I will be coming back to discuss these more carefully during the coming days. Additionally, I will discuss fasting on Rosh Hashannah when Rosh Hashanna is a Yahrtzeit, and the general issue of fasting on Rosh Hashannah. Chazal tell us that "Sifrei Chaim ve'Sifrei Meisim Pesuchim Lefanav;" this means that even those that died long ago are judged anew on Rosh Hashanna. What is this second judgment? What wasn't covered the first time? Evidently, there is another judgment of the dead on Rosh Hashannah, and it is possible that they are also judged on their Yahrtzeit....

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