This whole summer, each Shabbat, we have been talking about Judaism’s relevance. Judaism is all around us. We can become attuned to it, and we can learn Jewishly from the stories in the news, the conversations we have with our loved ones and co-workers, the experiences we encounter in our everyday lives.
Never am I more attuned to the Judaism around me than when I’m listening to music. In my mind, during this month of Elul leading up to the High Holy Days, I have been hearing again and again a certain musical refrain.
Awake My Soul
In this refrain I hear the lessons of Judaism and the purpose of the shofar blast. What have we been preparing for over the course of this past month? When we hear the shofar on Erev Rosh HaShanah, what will it do to each of us?
Hopefully this month we have primed ourselves, both to greet the New Year and the 10 Days of Repentance. We’ve begun to poke around the places inside ourselves we usually like to keep hidden. In the process of uncovering our darker places we face things we might prefer not to face, but we also begin to understand ourselves better. And hopefully we begin to focus on the fundamental questions of our lives. What are our personal obstacles to a balanced life? What makes us the happiest? What in our lives deserves a greater share of our time and energy?
So often, our focus on the fundamental dynamics of our lives will remind us of our relationships. Where we invest our love is the most important thing in our lives. Our relationships require us to remember to be vulnerable, to be willing to let others show us a different perspective, to be willing to ask for help.
But when we are all of those things, our souls awake. When we hear the shofar, what will it do to us? It will remind us to do the work that will allow our souls to awake.
The refrain I’ve been hearing in my mind is a song by Mumford and Sons you may have heard a lot over the past couple of years. All of these themes I’ve discussed are in this song, vulnerability, the willingness to see differently, the willingness to take someone’s hand and journey together, the recognition that where we invest our love is the foundation of our lives.
A soul that is awake is a soul that is living and when that soul eventually enters eternity we pray it is able to look back and say, I lived because I loved.
When you hear the shofar next week, let it awake your soul. Let it remind you of the life you want to live and how you intend, fundamentally, to live it. All of Elul has been directed to that moment.
It’s not too late to prepare. Take your inspiration from anywhere. It’s all around.
Awake My Soul, by Mumford and Sons. Find a recording and take a moment to listen.