The task to accomplish on Rosh Hashana is called “Kabbolas Ol Malchus Shomayim.” Accepting the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. So far in this BlogElul exercise, with the exception of Day 1, I’ve been talking about general Judaism stuff.
But accepting the Yoke is the key to Rosh Hashana. If Elul could only be spent focusing on one thing this would be it.
Now most of us are at a disadvantage. Not having been born on a farm, I never had a good idea what a yoke is. I had to look it up on wikipedia!
A yoke is not the burden per se. It is the implement that fits the animal’s neck well enough to help him do the job. All tasks connect to the yoke. The yoke is curved to fit on the animal’s neck. The yoke then does the work.
Now I understand that the animal is the one doing the work. But the yoke is what makes it easier.
For the non-farmer, I think it’s analogous to the handle on a suitcase. The person has to lift the suitcase. But the handle focuses the strength and makes the lifting of that fifty pound thing a whole lot easier.
That’s the meaning of the mishna in Pirkei Avos that says that whoever accepts one yoke of Torah is freed from the yoke of worldly affairs. We’ve all got to do both of course, each in different ratios. But it’s the yoke, the acceptance of primary responsibility, that matters so much.