Elul Reflections: Rouse Us

How does tradition wake us up to change?  In Sephardic congregations, the shofar is sounded at the morning services during the month of Elul.  This is for the purpose of trying to wake us up to the serious task of tshuva, repentance, atonement and changing our lives.

“Whose voice do we hear beckoning us to change?  Is the shofar blast the sound of our own soul, the voice of our heart that we have sought to silence for so many years?  Or is it the voice of angels whom God has sent to remind us that we already know what we have to do?  Many teachers have suggested meanings for each sounding of the shofar.  The Baal Shem Tov believed that the blasts represent our tears, expressing the deep emotion we feel each time we hear the shofar’s call.  One thing is certain, one warning blast is not enough.  The shofar must be blown many times to rouse us from our walking slumber and demand our full attention” (Olitzky and Sabath).

Learn more in:  Preparing Your Heart for the High holy Days, by Rabbis Kerry Olitzky and Rachel Sabath, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1996.

We look forward to hearing shofar with you (High Holy Day service schedule).  L’shanah tovah–Your RS clergy