Two thousand years ago, at the time of the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, there lived a man named Rabbi Shimon ben Azai. Rabbi Shimon was a student of the famed Rabbi Akiva, one of the most heroic figures in the Jewish history. Rabbi Shimon was such a great scholar that for years to come, a common way of saying that someone was an expert in their field would be to say 'he is the Rabbi Shimon be Azai of his field'.

Rabbi Shimon, the great scholar that he was, had a real appreciation for the beauty of the Torah and Mitzvahs. In Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of our Father - a book in the Talmud - Rabbi Shimon is quoted as saying: 'The reward of a Mitzvah is the Mitzvah itself'.

What Rabbi Shimon meant by that is that good deeds, Mitzvahs, are blessings in their own right. Of course God rewards us for the good deeds we do, but the biggest reward is the good deed itself.

Rosh Hashanah, which begins on Sunday evening, is the called the 'Head of the Year' on the Jewish calendar. It's called the 'head' because of it's tremendous potential to affect, inspire and direct every following day of the new year, just like the head leads the body.

Every good act, every Mitzvah, smile, prayer or Torah study that we do on Rosh Hashanah is a seed which blossoms over the coming twelve months. And, like Rabbi Shimon said, the best reward for those Mitzvahs are the Mitzvahs themselves. 

May this year be a year of blessing, happiness and health for you, your family, the entire Jewish people and the world at large. Let's make it the best one yet!

Rabbi Avrohom