Royal Recognition

 “He  became  King  over  Yeshurun  when  the heads of the nation gathered” (Devarim 33:5)

Chazal relate (Rosh Hashanah 34b) that  on Rosh Hashanah, Hashem asks Bnei Yisrael, “Recite pesukim of Malchuyot before Me, so that you may coronate Me upon yourselves.” The word Malchuyot (prayers of kingship) is written  in the plural form as a reminder that He is King of all worlds, above and below. I would like to add that this  plural  form  indicates  a command  for  all  of  Am  Yisrael  to coronate Hashem, through brotherliness and unity. When the nation is a whole unit, joined in achdut and love, as one man with one heart, they can truly  crown Hashem as their King.

Unity among our nation is reflected by great joy on High. All the neshamot of Am Yisrael are interconnected,  created with  a Divine image (Pardes Rimonim 32a). When they  crown  Hashem as King, they  do  it “when  the  heads of the  nations  gathered.”  But  when friction  and faction  split  the nation,  Hashem’s Name cannot  rest upon them. They are then unable to coronate Him.

The last letters of the phrase יחד שבטי ישראל, adding one for the phrase itself, are numerically  equivalent to the Name י-ה-ו-ה , with each letter spelled out, as well as to the word אדם, adding one for the  word  itself.  When unity  reigns,  Bnei  Yisrael  become transformed,   and  Hashem’s  Name is  sanctified,  finding  a comfortable  resting place among the nation. The words of parashat Nitzavim (Devarim 29:9) “You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your G-d: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers – all the men of Israel” are enacted to perfection. On Rosh Hashanah,  the   hues  and  shades  which   comprise   our   nation converge before Hashem, merging into a brilliant tapestry of loyalty to His Kingship.

In Pirkei Avot (4:4), we read, “Be exceedingly humble  in spirit.” The  Ba’al  HaTanya  (Likutei  Torah,  Nitzavim)  expounds:  “Each person has traits which his friend lacks. Therefore, everyone needs each other. The form of our nation can be compared to the human body. The head is obviously  the most important  part of the body. Nevertheless, it is the legs which  support  the entire  body.  Blood would  be  let  from  the  feet  in  order  to  cure  the  upper  limbs. Therefore, the head cannot be complete without  the feet.

 “All  of  Bnei Yisrael  are one solid  unit.  Even if  one considers himself the head and his fellow Jew the feet, he cannot attain perfection  without   his  friend’s  contribution.  What  he  lacks,  his friend  provides.  Therefore,  it is  fitting   for  everyone  to  subject himself  to  his  fellow  man. This  approach  will  encourage achdut with  one  another,  as well  as unity  with  Hashem, Who  has  no beginning and no end. But one who separates the importance  of the head and the feet, believing  he is superior  to his fellow  Jew, falls under  the clutches  of the Sitra Achra, the one in control  of the world  of separation.

 “Rosh Hashanah is the  time  when the  neshamot of Am Yisrael return  to  their  source.  This  is  ‘when  the  heads  of  the  nations gathered.’ The ‘head’ is a reference to man’s thoughts,  which  may have strayed  into  forbidden  territory. With  Rosh Hashanah, they become unified for Hashem’s sake.”

Moshe Rabbeinu was equal to all of Klal Yisrael (see Mechilta, Yitro 1), simple and significant alike. The head represents the people of stature, while the feet represent the ordinary folk. Regarding Moshe, the   pasuk  says  (Bamidbar  12:2),  “Now   the   man  Moshe  was exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth.” How did Moshe, head and shoulders above the rest of mankind, maintain an approach of humbleness? Through feelings of modesty and self-effacement. He understood that without  the backing offered by the simple people, who were considered the feet of the nation, he would never have succeeded in becoming the head. This is in line with the words of the Ba’al HaTanya, cited above. It is the feet which stabilize  the body  and uphold  the head; they  are crucial  for  the entire system to function  optimally.

Hashem’s order to Moshe after the sin of the Golden Calf encapsulates this idea. There, He stated (Shemot 32:7), “Go, descend – for your people… has become corrupt.” Chazal interpret  this to mean (see Berachot 32a) that  since  Bnei  Yisrael  damaged their spiritual  level, Moshe, too, had to descend in his spiritual  level. All that  he had achieved was only in their  merit.  With their  sin, they caused a breach in the unity  of the nation, they effectively cut off Moshe’s legs, so to speak, and he could no longer bear the title  of “head.” We find that as long as Hashem was angry with Bnei Yisrael, He  did  not  display   the  same  level  of  love  toward   Moshe  as previously  (see Rashi, Devarim 2:17). Only  after  Hashem forgave their sin, did the Shechinah return  to Moshe.

When Moshe descended Har Sinai, he began kissing the people in order to re-connect with them. He desired to return the connection between head and heel. When Moshe had been in Heaven, he had reached the level of the angels. He was greater than the nation of sinners by light-years. In order to return  the body of our nation to its former status, he had to reconnect the head with the feet. This is what he accomplished by kissing the people. By doing this, he lowered his dignity.  But to him, it was well-worth  the price of the nation’s unity, which was eventually restored. The entire nation is one single unit, as explained previously  by the Ba’al HaTanya.

With  the  nation’s  sin,  Moshe  felt  a deficiency  in  himself.  He therefore  lowered himself to their  level and kissed them, bringing them  closer  to  him,  so that  they  would  rise  once again, and he would, too.

The first  part of Moshe’s blessing is “He became King over Yeshurun when the heads of the nation gathered.”The secret of Am Yisrael’s survival is the unity which they share, young and old alike. Together, they comprise the Jewish nation.

In parashat Vayeitzei, we read (Bereishit 28:12), “And he dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward; and behold! angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.”  Yaakov’s ladder  is an analogy to  our  people. When a ladder is “set earthward,” i.e., when there is unity among all strata of society, then “its top” can reach “heavenward.” The simple man, considered the foot, helps the tzaddik, who is then capable of reaching the very heavens. The “angels of G-d” are the tzaddikim and the simple people, the “head” and the “heel” of our nation.

Both the last word in the Torah, ישראל and the first word, בראשית, contain the word ראש (head) within  them. Even one who is “at the end of the line,” seemingly insignificant,  is considered a head, just like the one who stands at the helm of our nation. The head gains support  from the feet. Without  the support  of the little  guy, the big boss would be out of business. The “head” and the “foot”  are interconnected  and draw strength from one another.

Rosh Hashanah is the day when everyone is elevated to the status of “head.” The words (Devarim 29:9) “You are standing today” refer to Rosh Hashanah, when Am Yisrael stand before Hashem in judgment. The word Nitzavim (standing)  is a form of praise for the nation. All of Am Yisrael, the young and old, stand together, united as one, with no distinctions between the classes, to crown Hashem as their King. This causes them to emerge innocent in judgment.

The words “your  heads” is an allusion to the head of the body, whereas “your  water-carriers”  refers to the foot, for water travels downward.  When Am Yisrael demonstrate the stability  that comes with harmony, the simple and the significant bring merit to one another. This gives Hashem the ability,  as it were, to inscribe and seal them for a year of life. The recitation  of Malchuyot teaches that just as a king cannot rule without  a nation (see Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 3), so too, can the tzaddikim  rule the nation only when the people express their support.

When Am Yisrael stand in unity on Rosh Hashanah, crowning Hashem together,  the  heads  of  the  nation,  those  who  are  the thinkers  and  intellectuals,  connect  with  the  ordinary   folk.  This elevates the level of the lower people, akin to the feet, to that of the others, who are like the head. Without the simple people, the heads cannot grow in Torah knowledge. We find that Moshe attributed his stature solely to the merit of Bnei Yisrael.

The word  יחד (together)  is numerically  equal to twenty-two,  the number of letters  in the Hebrew alphabet with  which the Torah is written.  When the Torah giants connect to the simple people, they merit understanding Torah concepts. This is in line with David Hamelech’s assertion (Tehillim 119:99), “From all my teachers I grew wise, for Your testimonies  are a conversation  for me.” David was humble enough to learn even from those of smaller stature than himself.  He merited  kingship  because he humbled  himself  before everyone and was ready to learn from anyone. Since he fulfilled  the end of the verse (Devarim 33:5) “when the heads of the nation gathered,” he merited the beginning, “He became King over Yeshurun.” David Hamelech merited Torah and royalty,  for he exemplified the maxim (Derech Eretz 8) “The Torah is acquired only by one who is humble of spirit.”

During  the  Yamim Noraim,  it is imperative  to  correct  matters between man and his fellow man. This will enable us to stand before Hashem as one cohesive unit. When a person does teshuvah regarding only matters between himself and Hashem, his teshuvah is incomplete,  for his deficiencies in matters between himself and his fellow man prevent him from becoming bonded with them, and from together coronating Hashem as King.

Korach “took  himself”  (Bamidbar 16:1) to the side, disputing Moshe’s authority.  He was punished  measure for  measure, separated from the nation forever, swallowed by the ground. He was drawn into Gehinnom, as he drew himself away from the people.

Not only  did  Korach  incite  a rebellion,  he caused a rift  in  the Torah itself, by mocking the mitzvot  of tzitzit  and mezuzah. While achdut in Am Yisrael and adherence to the Torah brings about the fulfillment of the maxim “Hashem, the Torah, and Am Yisrael are one” (see Zohar II, 90b), when there is conflict  among the nation, there is a schism between the other factors in this equation, as well.

The Ba’al HaTanya expounds on the pasuk “You are standing today.”  He says, “This parashah is always read before Rosh Hashanah,  alluded  to  in  the  word   “today.”   The  day  of  Rosh Hashanah is the day of man’s creation, a day when all the nitzotzot of the neshamot stand at attention  before Hashem.

 “The heads of your tribes… from the hewers of your wood to the drawers of your water…” Ten distinct  classes are mentioned here. This corresponds to the ten levels of man’s soul. Each person is on a  distinct   level,  together  comprising   the  congregation  of  Bnei Yisrael, divided into ten categories.

This indicates how important  it is to correct matters between man and  his  fellow  man.  Dissention  is  liable  to  prevent   Hashem’s coronation  on the Day of Judgment. Man was created on Rosh Hashanah (Yalkut Shimoni, Bamidbar 782). Hashem connects man to the Upper Worlds, as stated in our holy sefarim (see Zohar II, 75). From him, all worlds  gain sustenance. Since the days of Adam Harishon, every generation stands before Hashem on Rosh Hashanah. All the nitzotzot of the neshamot of Klal Yisrael become elevated then. When there is, chalilah, dissention among the nation, the  Shechinah is  terribly pained,  for  blessing  is  prevented  from coming upon the world.


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