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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The Shofar's Call
Listening to the sounding of the shofar is one of most memorable aspects of the High Holy Days. We will hear three distinct notes on Rosh HaShanah morning: tekiah, shevarim, and teruah. About these notes, Rabbi Yeshayah HaLevi Hurwitz (from the late 16th century) has written:
Each group of sounds begins with a tekiah, a whole note, proceeds to shevarim, a “broken” note divided into three parts, or even to a teruah, an entirely fragmented sound. But each broken note is followed by a whole note, another tekiah. This is the message of Rosh HaShanah: “I started off whole, I became broken, even splintered into fragments, but I shall become whole again! I shall become whole again!”
It is true that we may enter this new year feeling broken in some way. Perhaps our bodies have betrayed us. Perhaps our spirits are low. Perhaps we are consumed with worry over those we love. Or, looking beyond ourselves to the world around us, we see injustice, violence and inequality at every turn. We question whether real change, for ourselves or our world, is possible. And if we are not careful, it is easy to fall from questioning to despair … or even worse … apathy.
But then we hear the shofar blasts and are reminded that this time of year is ultimately a time of possibility and hope. Our tradition teaches that brokenness is not a permanent condition,
that healing is possible,
and that the way things are now are not the way things will or always have to be.
We remember that we do have power to effect positive changes that can impact our lives and our communities. And we realize that each new year … each new day … each new moment is our gift, our opportunity, to begin again.
May each beginning bring us blessings for wholeness, for health and for peace.