This shiur functions as the background for the next Alei Shur shiur. It also stands by itself as a foundational set of texts and ideas relating to Rosh ha-Shanna. The gemara contains a basic contradiction regarding the nature of the judgment that takes place at this time of the year. On the one hand we pass before hashem as sheep before the shepherd – one at a time. On the other hand, God looks at all of us with a single gaze. In certain respects we stand in judgment alone as individuals and in certain respects we stand with a community behind us. This fundamental paradox describes, for me, some of the anxiety of these days. To what extent do we feel like we can withstand such an intimate type of encounter with hashem? Do we feel that our community will protect us along the way?
Another, deeper question is to what extent do we put ourselves out in front of the community in an attempt to lead people in a direction that we think they ought to take. And, perhaps the hardest question – what is our community? How broadly do we want to draw the boundaries around the people whom we think of as part of “our community?” Do we mean only those who observe mitzvot like us? What about those who daven in non-Orthodox shuls and are shomer shabbat? What about the rest of world Jewry for whom the intricacies of Halakha are nothing more than foolish folk ways – are they part of my community? What about non-Jews?
Here are the classic sources.
Here is the audio: