By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER
The Shofar is sounded every weekday in Elul to herald the approach of Rosh Hashanah. While an expert can induce a rousing spiritual experience with a powerful Shofar blast, Jewish Law insists that “all sounds produced with the Shofar are valid.” Euphonious tones… as well as squeaks, sputters, groans, gravelly rasps, and jarring squawks: all Kosher (Rosh Hashanah 27B; OH 587:1)!
This principle reminds us that sincere, heartfelt effort – and not musical prowess – is the essence of the prayer and introspection that define the High Holy Days. We each have a critical contribution to make in this sacred season – and every day – with our unique, individual “voice.”
This rabbinic ruling also has practical application during a Holiday season when public gatherings may be limited and expert Shofar blowers may be in short supply. Especially this year, no Jewish home should be without a Shofar!
Consider this comment by ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras: “Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole.”
The goal of wholeness and harmony in the New Year may well depend on you.
(Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the former National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.)