A sweet,new beginning

 During aseres yemei teshuva, first days of the new year, which begin with Rosh Hashan and culminate with Yom Kippur, it is customary to take on extra chumros  [stringencies]. People take on practices that are beyond the strict letter of the law even if they do not keep up such practices during the rest of the year.   It is not a matter of pretense.  G-d is not taken in by a temporary act.  Rather, it is a matter of trying to focus on improvement during these days that should be a time of introspection and spiritual growth. 

Browning said, "A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for."  The antithesis to growth is a sense of complacency.  We break out of out standard routine during these days to remind ourselves that we should not settle in as beynonim -- people who are in between good and bad -- content with mediocrity.  Based on the principle ofhadam nifal kefi peulathav [a person is shaped by his actions] we take action to heighten our spiritual sensitivity. 
Doing more than it is just required is also a sign of love.  Just as a parent who loves a child will do more than the bare minimum, G-d does more than the bare minimum in providing for His creature.  And we strive to emulate the Divine example in doing more and demonstrating our love.  Achieving the level of love, rather than just fear of consequences,  enables a person to attain the ultimate level of tshuva [repentance] as explained in  http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2014/09/transfigured-by-love-tshuva-mahava.html  Doing more is a sign of love and chesed, attributes that sweeten thedin [judgement] of Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment, one of the 4 names of Rosh Hashana.

Shana tova umetuka!


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