Tuesday, September 22nd 2020   |

Shofar

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER

Shanah Tovah! Wishing you much blessing in 5780!

The sounding of the Shofar – the ram’s horn – is a much anticipated highlight of Rosh Hashanah worship. Explanations of this observance abound:

The Shofar was heard at Mount Sinai, where Israel became a nation and entered into our Covenant with God.

The Shofar heralds the final Judgement, the coming of the Messianic Era, and the ingathering of the exiled Jewish People to Israel – all to be accompanied by “a great Shofar blast” (Isaiah 27:13).

The Shofar has been compared to a lifeguard’s whistle: warning us to return to safety when we venture into deep or dangerous water. The Shofar has been compared to an alarm clock: it is time to wake from our moral slumber and take meaningful action.

The Shofar gives voice to our innermost longings, impossible to put into words.

The Hebrew root of “Shofar” (shin-peh-resh) means “to improve.” We must work on ourselves and improve our ways.

The shofar is an ancient, primitive musical instrument. Our millennia-old tradition still speaks to us loud and clear!

The “Father of the Blues,” songwriter William Christopher Handy, offers a wise perspective on the message of the Shofar: “Life is like a trumpet – if you don’t put anything into it, you don’t get anything out of it.”

(Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.)

Share Button