Message from Reb Shlomo:
ON THE HOLY CUSTOM OF BUYING ALIYAHS
People get what they need from wherever they are. We Jews, when we left Egypt, were heavenly, so we got our bread from heaven – manna. If, G-d forbid, you live in a garbage pail, that’s where you get your money from. Sadly enough, we waste so much money on unimportant things, much more than we really want or can afford.
So our holy rabbis, with infinite compassion, initiated the most holy custom of buying aliyahs on the High Holidays, which fixes the two evils: (1) We connect our money to the Torah so much that the money for the next year will come from Heaven, like the Torah. (2) The Torah – every word, every letter – is of earth shaking importance. So, hopefully, all my money will be connected to the Torah and will only be spent on important and absolutely beautiful things.
A few tips on which portion to buy for yourself or a friend:
First Day of Rosh Hashanah
• 1st Aliyah – Even wishes you are ashamed to pray for are still answered. Don’t give up on G-d.
• 2nd Aliyah – Yitzchak was called “laughter” because he was one baby in the world who was never rebuked, never abused, never put down. How many people today can say that they are full of laughter?
• 3rd Aliyah – There is laughing with and laughing at, and only a prophetess like Sarah can sense the difference.
• 4th Aliyah – Everything we need is right in front of us. It is a special privilege to see them.
• 5th Aliyah – Sometimes we have to make a covenant with the world. But don’t move an inch from where you have to be.
• Maftir – One of the most heartbreakingly beautiful chapters in the Prophets: Hannah praying for a son, Samuel, who anointed King David who will ultimately the save the world.
Second Day of Rosh Hashanah
• 1st Aliyah – When G-d seems contrary to everything you know about Him, don’t stop believing. Eventually G-d will enlighten you.
• 2nd Aliyah – It is possible to have children and never be close to them. This was the closest moment between Avraham and Yitzchak.
• 3rd Aliyah – G-d enlightens you only at the last moment, when you really need it. So if you don’t know what to do yet, don’t wait.
• 4th Aliyah – All the trials and tribulations we go through pave the way for our children and the generation to come.
• 5th Aliyah – Even if you reach spiritually the highest level, don’t disconnect yourself from your old pagan friends.
• Maftir – Some tears reach Heaven. Some tears reach Heaven of all Heavens.
- 1st Aliyah – It is always our children who pave the way. We are not alive every minute, but there are great moments where we are fully alive and the secret of life is to hold on to those moments.
- 2nd Aliyah – Let it be clear to all of us the influence we have on our families and our whole environment. You cannot enter the Holy of Holies without fixing your self. You also have to take with you all of those you influence. In this portion Aaron is preparing his whole family.
- 3rd Aliyah – Do not ever choose with your head. Choose with your heart; choose with your hands, which are connected higher than your head – beyond you.
- 4th Aliyah – The Holy of Holiest is the place where you are completely given to G-d, completely given to all of Israel. The Holy of Holiest between people is the moments when they become one with each other.
- 5th Aliyah – Do not hold on to your feelings of guilt. Send them away. But after sending them away, immerse yourself in living water – the water of Torah, the water of holiness – and become a new person.
- 6th Aliyah – G-d wants us to do the beginning. Between people also, sometimes the other person wants us to move first. Do not ever hesitate.
- 7th Aliyah – When you meet somebody you love it is like Shabbat. When you meet somebody you love the most it is Yom Kippur – it purifies you completely.
- Maftir – 1) We all have so many stones on our highways, so many obstacles to getting better and higher. This Maftir is prophesying that one day we will build beautiful highways. And the stones that were in our way will make the highways easier to travel, paving the way for our children and the generations to come. 2.) Evil people are like waves rising up but falling down right away. Holy people are like mountains – they rise and they stay that way.