Beryl’s family is on shlichus in South America. For the first time, his whole family was going to spend the month of Tishrei in Crown Heights. They arrived a few days before Rosh HaShanah and Beryl spent most of the first day in 770. Many things were going on all at once and he was very excited to be part of it all.

After davening, Beryl’s father stood by talking to another shliach while Beryl looked around at all the people. A jolly looking chassid with a booming voice caught his attention. “Simchas Shabbos veYom Tov. Please contribute so every family can have festive meals and a happy holiday.” Beryl watched as the man collected the tzedakah and thanked the people telling them how wonderful it is that every family will have enough for Yom Tov.

On their way home, Beryl asked his father about the “Simchas Shabbos veYom Tov man.” Beryl’s father smiled as he thought back to the time he grew up in Crown Heights. “That’s part of the 770 scene,” he told Beryl.

“I was wondering why he kept telling everyone how important it is that every family have fish, meat, and wine for Yom Tov,” Beryl said. “If it was before Sukkos, Pesach or Shavuos, I would understand. Those are happy holidays when we have festive meals. But now it’s right before Rosh HaShanah, the Day of Judgment! Of course we have to eat and drink, but it just doesn’t seem right to be so concerned with food on the day that a person is being judged. Whatever he has, he’ll eat.”

“You’re making a mistake there Beryl,” his father said. “True, Rosh HaShanah is a very serious day, but while we’re serious, we should also be happy and festive.”

“Serious and happy together?” asked Beryl.

“Yes. The prophet tells the people about Rosh HaShanah: ‘Eat tasty foods and drink sweet beverages for the rejoicing of G‑d is your strength.’ We are happy to be His chosen people and confident that He will bless us with a good year. So we rejoice on Rosh HaShanah and have festive meals.”

Our rejoicing on Rosh HaShanah will lead to a kesivah vachasimah tovah for all Jews for a good and sweet year, a year with great and wonderful blessings, including the greatest blessing of them all, the coming of Mashiach.

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 5750)