Thursday, September 13, 2012

ROSH HASHANA: The call of the Shofar

Every day we have many opportunities to ask God Almightywhat we need and what we want from Him. On weekdays, three times a day, we recite the Amida. From its nineteen blessings thirteen focus on our needs: we ask God for good health, good livelihood, protection, etc. (see here). During Shabbat and Chaguim, when opening the Hekhal, we ask haShem to grant us good health, good livelihood, protection, and much more. During the High Holidays we request HaShem several times for our Parnasa (livelihood) , long life, etc.

What are we supposed to do when we listen to the Shofar in Rosh haShana? Should we keep asking God for more things? Is the Shofar an extension of our own voice requesting God loudly and with a broken heart for all the important things we want for the coming year?  Public opinion (and general practice) notwithstanding, when listening to the Shofar we should not focus on asking God for anything (See Maimonides' words here).


Because when the Shofar is blown it is actually the only time of the whole year that God is asking something from us!

The voice of the Shofar should be understood as a 'divine wake up call'. God is our father (abinu). The one that gave us our life. When the Shofar  is blown we should reflects on what good have we done with the year of life He graciously gave us.

When the Shofar is blown we must remember that haShem is also our King (malkenu). We owe Him obedience. At that solemn moment we are asked to admit our mistakes, repent and learn from them for the future.  

When the Shofar is blown we must become answerable to God. Take charge and being accountable from what we have done wrong and for what we have not done right.

That is what we need to do when listening to the voice of the Shofar!

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