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A Head Not A Tail

By Batya Medad
9/5/2009, 12:00 AM

Please check Shiloh Musings and me-ander, which are posted to more frequently.  Thanks

 

Somewhere in the middle of the longest "parsha section" in this week's Torah Portion, Ki Tavo, I noticed:

 מג הַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבְּךָ, יַעֲלֶה עָלֶיךָ מַעְלָה מָּעְלָה; וְאַתָּה תֵרֵד, מַטָּה מָּטָּה. 43 The stranger that is in the midst of thee shall mount up above thee higher and higher; and thou shalt come down lower and lower. Here we are, less than two weeks before Rosh Hashannah, right in the middle of the Jewish Month of Ellul, and we ought to be getting ready for our annual "hearing" before G-d Almighty. מד הוּא יַלְוְךָ, וְאַתָּה לֹא תַלְוֶנּוּ; הוּא יִהְיֶה לְרֹאשׁ, וְאַתָּה תִּהְיֶה לְזָנָב. 44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him; he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. מה וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וּרְדָפוּךָ וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ, עַד, הִשָּׁמְדָךְ: כִּי-לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ--לִשְׁמֹר מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּךְ. 45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee.

What does that phrase mean?  It's customary at the Rosh Hashannah Evening meal/s to have a "head" on the table and say a special request to G-d that "we should be a head and not a tail."  In our family we've been using fruit heads, like the one illustrating this post.

What does all this mean?  On Rosh Hashannah, we ask that G-d make us the "head not the tail," because the opposite is a curse, a punishment for our sins. 

What do we hear in the news all the time?  Our politicians, the faux leaders of Israel are concerned about what U.S. President Obama thinks, what the U.N. will vote, the opinions of everyone but G-d.  We have become "tails" rather than the "head." 

We're taking orders from the goyim, just like in the curse detailed in the Torah! G-d willing we'll be blessed with true wisdom and true leaders.

Shannah Tovah to one and all!