Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
Our sages taught: On the New Year the entire amount of a man’s sustenance is fixed, except for what he spends on Sabbaths, Festivals, and New Moons, and except for the amount children take to the house of their teacher. In these cases, if he spends more he receives more, if he spends less he receives less.
Rabi Johanan was once walking along the road from Tiberias to Sepphoris, with Rabi Hiyya, son of Abba, supporting him. They came to a certain country house and Rabi Johanan said: "This country house was mine and I sold it in order to acquire the Torah."
They then passed a vineyard-dwelling and he said, "This vineyard-dwelling was mine and I sold it in order to acquire the Torah."
They came to a dwelling in an olive-grove and he said: "This dwelling in the olive-grove was mine and I sold it in order to acquire the Torah."
Rabi Hiyya began to weep.
"Why are you weeping?" asked Rabi Johanan.
"Because you have nothing left in your old age," he answered.
Rabi Johanan then said to him: "Is it a light thing in your eyes what I have done?
That I have sold a thing which was created in six days and acquired a thing which was given after forty days. As it says, ‘And he was there with the L-rd forty days and forty nights' (Ex. 34:28) and it is written, 'I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights"' (Deut. 9:9).
Beginning a New Account On The New Year
"On the first day" (Lev. 23:40), Rabi Mana of Sha’ab and Rabi Joshua of Siknin said in the name of Rabi Levi: "It is like the case of a province that owed arrears to the king, who came to collect them. When he was within ten miles.of the province, the noblemen came out and praised him, so he released them from a third
of their tax. When he was within five miles, the middle class people of the province came out and praised him, so he released them from another third. When he entered the province all the people of the province, men, women and children, came out and praised him, so he freed them from the whole sum. The king said to them: 'Let bygones by bygones, from now on we shall start a new account.’
"In a similar manner, on the eve of the New Year, the leaders of the generation fast, and the Holy One, blessed be He, absolves them of a third of their iniquities. Following New Year, on Tzom Gedaliah Jews again fast, and during the Ten Days of Penitence they pray with greater intensity and resolve to correct their errors. The Holy One, blessed be He, then absolves them of another third. Finally, on the Day of Atonement everyone fasts, men, women and children, and the Holy One, blessed be He, says to Israel: 'Let bygones be bygones, from now onwards we shall begin a new account'
"From the Day of Atonement to the Festival of Tabernacles all Israel is busy with the performance of religious duties. One is busy with the sukkah, another with his lulav. On the first feast-day of the festival, all Israel stands in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, with their palm-branches and citrons in honor of the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and He says to them: 'Let bygones be bygones, from now on we shall begin a new account'
He Could Not Take Charity Even For The Holiday
Once Rabi Hiyya Rabbah and Rabi Shimon ben Halafta were studying in the Great College of Tiberias on the eve of the holiday (some say on the eve of Yom Kippur) and they heard the sound of people murmuring.
"What are these people doing?" said Rabi Simeon (who was very poor) to Rabi Hiyya.
Rabi Hiyya answered: "He who has money is purchasing his needs for the holiday and he who has no money is going to his employer that he may give it to him."
He then thought to himself, "If that is the case, I will also go to my Master that He should give me money." He went out and prayed in the famous grotto of Tiberias and he suddenly beheld a hand stretched forth holding out to him a pearl. He accepted the pearl and took it to Rebbe (Reb Judah HaNassi) who said to him, "Where did you get this? It is priceless. Take these three dinars and go and make preparations in honor of the dav, and after the holidav, we shall advertise it and whatever price we obtain for it you shall have.” (Rabi Shimon did not reveal to Rebbi how he had received the pearl.)
He took the three dinars and purchased food for the holiday and then he went home.
Seeing him laden with so many supplies, his wife exclaimed: "Shimon! Have you turned thief? All of your possessions do not amount to anything. How then did you manage to purchase so much food?"
He related to her the incident and how Rebbi had loaned him money to be repaid to him when the pearl would be sold.
"Is that right?" she said. "Do you desire that our canopy (under which the righteous will sit in the World to Come) should contain one pearl less than that of our fellowmen in the World to Come?"
"What is to be done?" he asked her.
She then said to him, "Go and return your purchases to their owners and the dinars to their owner and the pearl to its owner."
When Rebbe heard of it be was aggrieved and he sent and brought her to him. "How much anguish have you caused this righteous man?" he asked her.
"Do you desire that his canopy should have one pearl less than yours in the World to Come?" she retorted.
He said to her, "And even if it does lack one pearl, can't we make it up?"
"Rebbe," she replied, "in this world we are vouchsafed to see thy face, but in the World to Come, doesn t every righteous man has his own chamber?" (A person can't help another in the next world. Each person builds his own chamber with the good deeds he accomplishes in this world.)
Reb Judah HaNassi admitted that she was right, and he advised Rabi Shimon to return the pearl, even though it is the custom of celestial beings to give but not to take back.
Nevertheless, the pearl was returned and this latter miracle was greater than the former. When Rabi Shimon had taken it his hand was beneath and when he gave it back his hand was above, like a man who lends to his fellow. (When Rabi Simeon received the pearl he was meek because he was as one receiving a gift but when he returned it. he was as one giving a gift, in that the hand which received it was below his.)
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