Tuesday, September 01, 2015


I don’t know why it never made an impression on me before, but when I started reviewing Rosh haShana this time I was struck by the pesukim the gemara quotes to prove that Nisan is not the start of a new year for kings of the umos ha’olam.  The gemara quotes that in Kislev a messenger came and told Nechemya about the terrible time that the people in Yerushalayim were having rebuilding the city because of the constant harassment by enemies.  The navi goes on to relate that In Nisan of the same year of Koresh’s reign (proving Nisan does not mark a new year) Nechemya was serving the king wine and Koresh remarked on how distressed and depressed Nechemya looked.  Nechemya was forced to explain that he was distressed over what was happening to his brethren in Yerushalayim and he used the opportunity to ask for help.  

I can go back to last week’s news and point to any number of stories that if you have half a neshoma should have made your hair stand on end – stories involving Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim in particular.  How many people even remember these stories a week later, much less feel any sense of pain about what is going on?!  And here, when he is appearing before the king and obviously needs to try to make sure he looks his best, Nechemya is so overcome with grief over news he heard **four or five months beforehand** that Koresh can read the depression and distress on his face! 

Maybe it’s because we are inundated with painful stories all day thanks to the news and the internet that none of them make an impression on us any longer.  We've become desensitized to things that should bother us -- and that's a tragedy that's almost as painful as some of the events themselves.

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