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The Rosh Hashana Question: Where Are Your Wounds?

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In one of his novels, the late Alan Paton has one of his characters say: “When I shall ascend to heaven, which I certainly intend to do, I will be asked, ‘Where are your wounds?’ – Where are your wounds?

The second mishna tells us that on Rosh Hashana the entire world is passing before God like bnei maron. The mishna could have simply said that each one of us passes before God individually, one by one. The mishna could have said kol ba’ei olam ovrin l’fanekha ehad ehad, but the mishna provides figurative language. We don’t just walk in single file; we walk like bnei maron! Oh, now I get it! By the way, what exactly is bnei maron?

The gemara in Rosh Hashana 18a actually states that bnei maron has three definitions. The gemara first states that here, in Babylonia, we interpret it as sheep. Reish Lakish had a different definition. According to him, it’s k’ma’alot bait maron – it’s like the ascent of Beit Maron. Some say it should read Beit Horon. Rav Yehuda in the name of Shmuel explained it as hayalot shel beit David – King David’s soldiers. Three different definitions – three different images.

What is the first image? What is the first definition? The first image is a single sheep – one who is a member of the community, indistinguishable from the next. There is a disregard for individuality in this image of the sheep. We come to God as a passive, humble servant together with the rest of Your flock who are also Your humble servants.

Reish Lakish adds the element of fear of judgment........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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