A Bisl Torah

Hearing the Call

Many of us look forward to Rosh Hashana to hear the blasts of the shofar. The shofar’s blasts, a set of notes that often connote brokenness, awaken us to crying. Our internal cries and the cries of those within our community and around the world. Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf writes, “The call of the shofar is the sound that wakes us up so that we will make a choice for clarity, for awareness, for a fully constructive and purposeful life.”

But what happens when we don’t blow the shofar? This year, Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat. According to Jewish law, we don’t blow the shofar on Shabbat. Come to services on the second day of Rosh Hashana, you will see the familiar ram’s horn and hear a tekiah. But not on Friday evening or Saturday morning. How do we celebrate Rosh Hashana without one of the most central images, sounds, and experiences?

Simple. When you cannot hear the shofar, be the shofar. As it is said in Pirkei Avot, “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.” What does it mean to be a shofar? Where we see brokenness, let us not merely recognize pain but also be willing to act as a comforter. Where we see abuse, let us not close our eyes to the injustice experienced by others. Where we see opportunities to be a light unto others, let us not expect someone else to provide the match. Being a shofar is raising our hand to be called upon as God’s messenger, God’s partner, God’s amplifier of goodness.

We rarely hear the actual shofar. The days of Elul and Rosh Hashana and end of Yom Kippur are yet but a reminder of what we should already know. There is an alarm clock within each of us ready to ring. The question is whether we will silence the alarm or heed its call.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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