Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What NOT to do when listening to the Shofar

28th of Elul , 5770


Every day, we have many opportunities to ask God Almighty what WE want from Him. On weekdays, three times a day we recite the Amida. From its 19 berakhot, 13 of them focus on our needs and requests from God: good health, good livelihood, protection, etc. During Shabbat and Chaguim, when we open the Hekhal, we ask haShem to grant us good health, etc. In high Holidays, we request the Almighty several times for our Parnasa (livelihood) and long life, etc..

What about the Shofar? What should we think and reflect when we listen to the Shofar? Public opinion (and practice) notwithstanding, when listening to the Shofar we should not ask God for anything. Why? Because it is actually the only time of the whole year, God is asking something from us.

The voice of the Shofar should be understood as a 'divine call', as if at that time God is asking us what good have we done with the year of life He gave us.

The Shofar proclaims that haShem is our King, we owe Him obedience. We are asked to admit our mistakes and learn from them.

The Shofar reminds us the first 'divine call' to Adam, after he ate from the forbidden fruit. God addressed Adam 'asking' him aieka? Where are you? Not in geographical but rather in a moral sense.

When the Shofar is blown, it's actually the most inappropriate time to ask... It is a time to answer God's question: aieka?