Rosh Hashanah Day One: HaSatan and Iran




It is no coincidence that the ratification (or not) of the nuclear deal with Iran falls smack on Rosh Hashanah.

And so this sermon is going to focus on Iran and HaSatan (has a kind of poetic ring to it, no?) because ever since the fall of the Shah in 1979 and the rise of the Ayatollahs and Islamism, Iran has referred to the United States as the “Great Satan,” and Israel as the “Little Satan.”

It’s true that, in Judaism, we don’t really focus on HaSatan or “Say-tan” (as we pronounce it in English). Yet, surprisingly, we do find many references to Satan when it comes to Rosh Hashanah.

It is on Rosh Hashanah that the first human being was created and, on that very day, Satan – in the person of the snake – manipulated Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Ever since then, once a year on Rosh Hashanah, Satan comes to litigate against the Jews in the heavenly court. And there are various customs we engage in to trick and fool him.

But who is Satan, and why is he here? What’s his connection with Iran, nuclear energy, and the destruction of Israel? And how do we get rid of him?

This Rosh Hashanah, when all energy – nuclear and otherwise – is sent down for the entire world and the entire year, it is up to us to ensure that it falls only into the right hands: ours.


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