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Rosh Hashanah Prayer Insights

Insights on Selected Prayers

A selection of short but inspiring thoughts, insights, and stories relevant to the various Rosh Hashanah prayers.

The King and I
“I thought to myself,” said the rebbe of Karlin, “if we address the Almighty as ‘King,’ does this not invite the question, ‘If I am indeed your king, why did you not come to me until now?’”
Zachreinu Lechayim
Why when praying for life, do we emphasize G-d’s desire for life and that we are asking for life for His sake
Uvechen Ten Pachdecha
We pray for others -- but perhaps with a slight ulterior motive...
Al Har Sinai
Why did Alexander, a great philosopher and a student of Aristotle, want to know the Jewish view on the order of creation?
Kulanu Ke'echad
When is the father truly happy? When is he ready to shower them with abundant blessing?
Our Father, Our King!
Their warden was a Jewish communist named Mosei, who felt it his duty to be particularly brutal to religious prisoners. Occasionally, however, the light of his buried soul would emerge...
The Story
"My good friend, Rabbi Amnon, I know you have been loyal and devoted to me for many years. Now I wish to ask you a personal favor. Abandon your faith, and become a good Christian like me..." The gripping story behind a most moving High Holiday prayer.
Zocher Kol Hanishkachot
How does the Divine attribute of remembering all that is forgotten work in our favor?
Kevakarat Roeh
What is the difference between someone who shepherds his own sheep, and one who shepherds others' sheep?
Vchol Maaminim
While he was reciting the Musaf service and singing the hymn V'chol Maaminim, which declares how all men share in the belief in G-d, he stopped and thought: Why was he in a hard labor camp? Because there were people who did not believe...
Chatanu Lefanecha
"Mind your own business. I’m drilling under my seat. I paid my fare for this boat ride, and this is my seat..."
Parnassah Tovah...
The prayer we recite during the High Holidays while the Ark is opened teaches us a valuable lesson about wealth...
Vegam Et Noach
Why do we base our plea for Divine mercy on Noah; can’t we find any other righteous people?
Umeitiv Laraim V'latovim
Why is G-d good to the wicked? And what is so surprising about the fact that He is good to the righteous?
Shehu Oneh Lachash
What does G-d respond to Satan and his entourage when they come to besmirch the Jewish people on the Day of Judgment?
The Adam Factor
V'yayda Kol Pa'ul Ki Attah P'alto
The Hebrew language has no word for "things", "objects" or "stuff". In Hebrew, all things are dvarim, "words": articulations of the soul, crystallized thoughts
Avinu Malkeinu
Rosh Hashanah is a game of hide and seek. G-d hides, we seek. But where can G-d hide? Wherever you go, there He is. So perhaps what is meant is more like peek-a-boo...
Reminding G-d
Attah Zocher Ma'asay Olam
On the awesome day of Rosh Hashanah, G-d shifts into transcendent mode. "The Throne of Judgment," our sages call it. Our mission: to re-awaken the flow of energy to the cosmos. To re-engage G-d
Teshuvah, Tefilla and Tzedakah
"Repentance," "prayer," and "charity" -- three often-used mistranslations of the Hebrew words "teshuvah," "tefillah," and "tzedakah"...
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