As the horrifying events of Monsey are still so fresh in our minds, coupled with other over manifestations of anti-Semitism in the New York area, it behooves all of us to rethink our preparations for the great convocation of Jews on Wednesday in Met-Life Stadium.
As so many of us are involved in our frantic final preparations before heading off to Met Life Stadium or the Barclay Center or to any other venue for Wednesday’s big event, it’s time to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything at home.
With the help of Hashem, almost 100,000 of us will gather at Met Life Stadium with up to another 20,000 or so at the Barclay Center.
In the New York City area alone, , there will be over 100,000 openly observant and clearly recognizable Jews of all stripes and colors, men, women and children who will descend upon arenas whose usual clientele is, to say the least, not arriving for spiritual sustenance.
The law-enforcement individuals who will be (with the Help of Hashem) providing the security have undergone sensitivity training in interacting with a population whose needs and sensitivities are different than your average attendee to an event at Met Life or the Barclay Center.
Therefore, it behooves us, we as Jews who the Mishna describes, “Beloved are Israel, for they are called children of Hashem” to undergo a last minute sensitivity training in order to allow us to enhance this unique event to its fullest potential.
I have therefore compiled a checklist of items to bring.
Keep in mind that this event is a momentous one for Kavod HaTorah and for Kavod Shomayim.
The last-minute items to remember to pack:
a. Most important: remember to bring your best smile with you.
b. Even if you have not used it a in while, make sure you take it out before you head off to Met Life Stadium or the Barclays Center and shine it up so it looks like new.
c. Make certain your smile is in excellent operating condition as it will be getting a work-out on Wednesday.
d. Remember to use that smile constantly and consistently as soon as you arrive at the arena.
e. Keep in mind that all of the workers, security people, police, maintenance people, cleaning staff, parking attendants and anyone else working are human beings.
f. These are the same human beings who our Sages say about them, “Beloved are human beings, for they was created in the image of Hashem…as it says, “For in the image of G‑d, He made human beings”. (Genesis 9:6)
g. You must smile when you see someone created in the image of Hashem.
h. Can you think of any other greater irony than for 100,000 plus people who are the children of Hashem who have come to give honor to Hashem, not recognizing those who are also created in His image?
i. Smile, smile and smile more at each and every person you meet.
2. Happy New Year!
a. These people are all working on what is to them one of the most important and universally observed holidays: the day which is called New Years Day.
b. It is totally irrelevant that these people are also getting paid for their services (even if they are getting time and a half), nevertheless, it behooves us to realize that this day is usually a day off for them and it is “New Years Day” for them.
c. Irrespective of if you have no problem saying “Happy New Year” or if you are more comfortable having in mind that you are giving someone a belated greeting from Rosh Hashanah, remember to say Happy New Year!
d. In the eyes and in the minds of the people you will meet if you don’t say “Happy New Year” you are not saying “Good Morning”.
e. You can also have in mind it’s the New Year for the new cycle of the Daf Yomi. Whatever you are thinking, remember to say, “Happy New Year!”
3. Thank You
a. This might be the most important item to remember to bring.
b. Chazal stressed the importance of recognizing and expressing our gratitude to others. There are countless stories of our great ones – for instance Rav Moshe Feinstein who was always careful to say thank you to the cook in yeshiva- which impress upon us the critical importance of Hakoras HaTov, gratitude.
c. Remember, and you can start to practice this at home before you leave the house, remember to say thank you to everyone. This of course must be accomplished together and simultaneously with the big smile on your face!
d. Make sure to say thank you to everyone and anyone. From the man in the parking lot with the illuminated wand, to the security man with the electronic metal detector wand, to the man with the bomb-sniffing dog, to all these and more, remember to say “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!”
This event, which takes place just once in seven and a half years, is not simply a Siyum HaShas, it is an opportunity to sanctify His name.
Particularly in our times when Eisav has lifted his hand, it is incumbent upon Yakov to make his Kol- his voice- heard loud and clear.
The voice coming from the mouths of all of the descendants of Yakov, has to be the Kol of “Thank you!”
Accompanying the voice of Yakov saying “Thank you”, has to be the smile of Yakov which is being flashed by over 100,000 men, women and children.
As with the Mitzvah of retelling the exodus from Egypt on Pesach, so too with regard to the Mitzvah of saying, “Thank you”, “Happy New Year” – all of course with a big smile- we can say, “Kol HaMarbeh L’Hagid “Thank you” V’Happy New Year”, Mit a Schmeichel Oif dein Ponim -with a smile on your face, “HaRei Zeh Meshubach!”
“The more a person says “Thank you, Happy New Year and does so with a smile on their face, the more praiseworthy they are before Hashem.”
On Wednesday January 1st, we have an opportunity to have the entire world hear over 100,000 times Thank You and over 100,000 times Happy New Year!
We have the chance to flash hundreds of thousands of smiles throughout the day.
Most importantly, we have the opportunity to bring Kavod and honor to His Holy name.
Let us not squander the opportunity.
These items take up no extra room and you don’t have to place them in a clear plastic bag, just keep them on your beautiful face the entire day.
With the “Thank You”s and the smiles of over 100,000 of His children on January 1st, we should merit to say Thank you to Him speedily in Yerushalayim.
“If Not Now, Then When?”- Hillel
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman – Congregation Ahavas Israel, Passaic, NJ
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)