On the first day of Rosh Hashana, the Haftorah describes the birth of Samuel to Elkana and his wife Chana who have been childless for years. In this story, Chana is praying for a son.
When we look into the Tefillah and the words she says, it says something quite unusual: Chana states that the first child God gives her she will bring back to him to serve in the Beit Hamikdash.
But why would Chana say this? Wouldn’t this make Hashem, if anything, not want to give Chana a child? And if Chana was pouring her heart out for this child why would she want to give him up? And even so, why would we read about Chana and honor her for saying she would give up her child, especially for a time as holy as Rosh Hashana?
The answer is as follows: at that time the people believed that God cared about the big things, so why would he care about a speck in the Jewish nation asking for children? But Chana knew this wasn’t true.
Chana wanted to show an example to the Jews that Hashem does care. She wanted everyone to know your prayers matter and God wants to listen. Therefore, she gave up the thing she cared about the most, a son, to teach everyone that it came from God, that God listened to her prayers and God cared.
Additionally, this story seems to have a connection to Sarah, Avraham, and Yitzchak. Sarah too couldn’t have children for years, Sarah too prayed for a child, and Sarah too was willing and eager to sacrifice her child for Hashem.
Interestingly enough, both of these stories connect more with Rosh Hashana than you might think.
There is a strong connection between Rosh Hashana to the Torah and Haftorah. On Rosh Hashanah, we crown Hashem as our king. These stories about Chana and Sara show us how women were able to sacrifice their lives by allowing Godliness to transcend to allow them to have children.
Furthermore, these stories teach us that Hashem cares about each and every one of us. Therefore, this weekend, on Rosh Hashanah, which is highly about davening, ask Hashem for something you want this year, because we know He listens and he cares.
By: Adina Shagalov (9th)