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Rosh Hashona

Thursday, 26th September 2019

Why isn’t Yom Kippur before Rosh Hashana?

On Yom Kippur we wipe away our sins. On Rosh HaShono we proclaim HaShem (G-d) as King (no sin-mention). Surely Yom Kippur should go first so we can proclaim HaShem as King in a state of sin-free purity?

One can answer based on Gemorro (Talmud) Sukkah (52b) that says that the yetzer hara (evil inclination) is too strong for us - and we can only overcome it with the help of HaShem. This means that essentially it is not in our hands solely to overcome the yetzer hara. Thus, we must have a Rosh HaShana first, for that is the way of ensuring that HaShem will help us so we can cleanse ourselves of sin culminating on Yom Kipur. 

Another answer is based on a lovely comparison. The Rambam (Maimonides) (hil melachim 1;1) comments that we were commanded 3 mitzvos (commandments) upon entry to the land of Israel; 1st to appoint a king, then wipe out amalek, and finally to build a beis hamikdash (Temple). [and that is the order that they occurred in nach (Scriptures).] 

The order is very precise here. So too, Rosh HaShono is compared to appointing a king (we 'appoint' HaShem as King), Yom Kippur to the removal of amalek (amalek is the embodiment of sin), and Sukkos to the beis hamikdash (a surrounding sanctuary of HaShem's Presence).

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