Friday, September 18, 2009

Rosh Hashanah: The blowing of the Shofar

The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar. The famous chassidic sage Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev explains the significance of the shofar with a parable. From
A king was once traveling in the forest and lost his way, until he met a man who recognized that he was the king and escorted his master out of the forest and back to his palace. The king later rewarded him with many presents, and elevated him to a powerful minister's post.

After a while, however, the man committed an act which was considered rebellious against the king, and he was sentenced to death. Before he was taken out to be executed, the king granted him one last request.

The man said: “I request to wear the clothes I wore when I escorted His Majesty when he was lost in the forest, and that His Majesty should also wear the clothes he wore then.”

The king complied, and when they were both dressed in the garments they wore at the time of their meeting, he said, “By your life, you have saved yourself,” and called off the execution.

The meaning of the parable is that when G-d gave the Torah to Israel, he offered it first to all the nations of the world. They all refused, except the people of Israel, who willingly accepted the yoke of Heaven and fulfilled the commandments of the Creator.

But now we have transgressed and rebelled, like the man in the parable, and with the arrival of the Day of Judgment we are fearful indeed. So we blow the shofar to recall the shofar blowing that accompanied our original acceptance of the Torah and coronation of G-d. This merit stands by us, and G-d forgives us all our sins and inscribes us immediately for a year of goodness and life.
May you be sealed and inscrribed for a good and sweet year!

No comments: