Wednesday, September 2, 2009

14 Elul. A Unique Response to the Call of the Shofar

As we are almost half-way through the month of Elul, I thought it was time for a little light relief. A congregant pointed me to this wonderful youtube video – a truly unique response to the call of the Shofar.

Of course, we can find some of the deepest truths embedded in humor. And this little video clip is no exception. The sound of the shofar, wailing and soulful, is a powerful sound that resonates deeply within when we hear it. The question for us is what will our response be? For some it may be contemplation of life’s choices; for some it might be tears caused by life’s losses; for some it might be remembrance of Jewish holidays with family in years past, perhaps accompanied by a yearning to find some of that yiddishkeit in their own lives once more; for some it might be a call to action – to recommit to make a difference in this world.

I am a trumpet player and so, over the years, I have blown shofar in different settings – brass players find it relatively easy to sound the shofar. There is one big difference for me between playing the trumpet and blowing the shofar. When I play the trumpet I feel as though I am sending vibrations through the instrument, trying to do so in a way that makes its sound ring vibrantly, soar and shine as best as I can. When I blow shofar, I feel it sending its vibrations through me, shaking me out of my slumber, calling upon me to soar and shine as best as I can.

When you hear the call of the shofar this year, listen carefully; listen differently. Let the vibrations from those wailing calls penetrate deeply, opening heart and soul, demanding a response.
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

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