New Year Blessings

A Blessing for the Jewish New Year of 5764

Secrets of the Jewish Year
Holiday Messages and Meditations on the Jewish Year

A Blessing for the Jewish New Year of 5764
To all the Jewish People,
Righteous Gentiles and Lovers of Israel–Shalom!


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It is customary to meditate on the numerical significance of each new Jewish year. The upcoming Jewish year, starting on Rosh HaShanah, is 5764. Traditionally, Jewish years are referred to without the thousands, so this year will be known as '764. 

The numerical value of 764, is the same as me'az yatzah matok, "From the harsh came sweetness." The source of this expression is in Judges 14:14. Samson, who had killed a lion cub, later discovered a beehive in the lion’s carcass. From the harsh lion came sweetness–the honey of the bees.

Rabbi Zusha of Anapoli is one of the main figures with whom to identify on Rosh Hashana, as he was the pillar of fear of Heaven.

He himself had a "from harshness came sweetness" experience.

Once, Rabbi Zusha attended a wedding in a village at the edge of the forest. While dancing, Rabbi Zusha became so enraptured of God's Presence as symbolized by the bride, that he unwittingly danced all the way into the thick of the forest. Lost for three days, Rabbi Zusha was starved and exhausted. He cried out to God and miraculously, honey began to flow from one of his teeth, and milk from another.

From the harsh experience of being lost in the forest, Rabbi Zusha himself became a source of sweetness.

May the harsh judgments that the Jewish People suffered this past year on a personal and communal level be sweetened until they themselves are a source of sweetness. The numerical value of 764 is also "and light is sweet,"  (Ecclesiastes 11:7). Light is particularly sweet when it is on the backdrop of darkness, "as the advantage of light over darkness." May we emerge from the darkness of the past year into the sweet light of the true and complete redemption!

May we be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet year,

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

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