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Shofarot Reflection

Myra Zuckerbraun, 2018

We greet each other with wishes for a sweet year and hope for health and continuing in the book of life- perhaps masking the anxiety of the real work of our days of awe.

The shofar sound is the opposite of sweetness.  It is piercing, dramatic and awesome. I hear an edge of danger and risk.

Without thinking much about it, I have always loved the piercing sound, the drama and the ceremony.  But what does it mean, besides my cheering for athletic and musical prowess of the shofar blower? I am grateful to Rabbi Lauren for making me listen and think again.

The Shofar blast is associated with the call of revelation on Mt. Sinai.  It suggests that there is a struggle and challenge to answer the call to be a Jew, to follow the law and to seek justice. It is the sound of Joshua and the Hebrews walking around Jericho until the walls fell down.  

In this Shofarot section is not a command.  It is a stirring call to live up to all our Jewish values and the complexity of our tradition in our lives and in the world.  

But, what is this call today, for me and for us.  I hear a shattering scream to bring a better future one year at a time.    The amazing idea of these days of awe is that it does occur each year. Each year we can truly begin, begin again.

The call to act has also been on every text and e mail I received from every ngo this holiday.  I’m not sure whether the calls have trivialized the idea or overwhelmed me. And, some friends are too overwhelmed to get started; others discouraged because projects haven’t  succeeded, and individual good deeds haven’t helped.

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