So, if you read my little intro from yesterday, you’ll know that I attend a small shul in the suburbs of Atlanta that does not have a rabbi (this year). For the last couple of years, I’ve been asked to give drashas on Shabbos and Yom Tov, including the Yomim Noraim. While I certainly don’t feel qualified to teach Torah publicly, I agreed to the kehillah’s request. I’m OK with public speaking. Some Shabbosim I hit a home run, most of the time it’s a ground ball. Doing this every week, I don’t get nervous or concerned. But the Yomim Noraim are different.
I’ve given the Rosh Hashanah drasha for a couple of years. I didn’t grow up orthodox (more traditional conservative), so my only memorable rabbinic speeches came on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (I generally wasn’t in shul otherwise). And these were big deals. People come once a year, they expect to hear something monumental. And like every year, I’m at a loss as to what to say.
So, if you had a change to pick the subject of the Rosh Hashanah drasha that you’re going to hear, what would you pick?
a) The power of Tefilla. There is so much to say, and so many unbelievable stories, any Drosho can be a winner. Especially to those who don’t hear the same thing every year. And if they are the sort of people who only come once a year, you can emphasize how HKB”H loves every person and all their tefillos…
b) Malchiyus – the focal point of Rosh Hashono is to remember that G-D is our King, and we must be Machniah [humble] ourselves to Him. Of course mention Yiras Shamayim, and why we don’t say Viduy on Rosh Hashana… and so on.