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Shouldn't Yom Kippur (forgiveness) come before Rosh Hashanah (judgment)?

by Rabbi Tzvi Shapiro

  

Library » Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » About | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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You can't really forgive before you judge. First you need to determine what needs to be forgiven, only then can you consider true forgiveness. 

Furthermore, if we are forgiven in advance, we don't need to be judged. All is already good.

But all is not really good, for forgiveness that comes without remorse of the past and resolve for the future doesn't really fix the problem. If forgiveness was automatic and simple, we would never improve.

Thus first we are judged. And judgment makes us think long and hard.

Who doesn't want to be judged favorably? And who isn't willing to do a little Teshuvah to merit that favorable judgment?

So we try. We examine our act, and try to clean it up.

On Rosh Hashanah judgment day arrives, and G-d takes a close look. We are not perfect, and judgment notices our flaws.

But G-d knows we tried, and that is what He admires most. So on Yom Kippur He forgives.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Yom Kippur » About

Teshuvah
Repentance. Or, more literally, "return" to G-d. Teshuvah involves regretting the past and making a firm resolution not to repeat the offense.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.