#BlogElul 17: Awaken


#BlogElul graphic

It’s Elul again!

Yesterday I listened to my son practise his shofar blowing for the High Holy Days.

Traditionally, the shofar is blown 100 times on each day of Rosh HaShanah, except on Shabbat. We do not blow the shofar on Yom Kippur itself, but at the end of it, after the gates have symbolically closed, we blow a big long blast that goes right up to doors of Heaven.

Nobody can sleep through a shofar blast, that is sure. Many rabbis have commented on this unique ritual. The most famous of these is probably that by Maimonides (MT Hilkhot Teshuvah 3:4) that the shofar calls to each of us and says: “Awake, you sleepers from your sleep. Arouse you slumberers from your slumber and ponder your deeds; remember your Creator and return to God in repentance. Do not be like those who miss the truth in pursuit of shadows and waste their years seeking vanity. Look well to your souls and consider your deeds; turn away from your wrong ways and improper thoughts.”

I am very excited and proud that my 15 year old will be the one to awaken our souls on Rosh HaShanah this year. He takes the responsibility seriously, and I am sure that every one of his blasts will be listened to attentively by the small but dedicated congregation we have collected this year.

If you think about it, it is pretty amazing that we have been able to pull this group together in such a short time. Everything is accounted for – leading services, singing, leading the prayers, English readings and meditations, and even the shofar. We have worked very hard but have also been very fortunate and honoured that people have been willing to trust us with their High Holy Days.

I feel very much awake and alive despite inadequate sleep these days. How about you?

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