Sounds of Our Humanity on Rosh Hashanah
How does such a rustic and simple instrument, a shofar, make so many sounds? At one moment it sounds like a trumpet blast, triumphant and powerful. Another time it sounds like a wail; deep, long, and anguished. Other times it is a set of staccato sounds, which are energized and full of movement. The shofar contains all these sounds of the High Holiday season, just as women living with serious illness, you may experience a range of emotions. None sound like a dreaded sound of judgment ( for that you can listen to Mozart!). They express a full range of human emotions and human activities just as our lives constantly unfold. And the service of shofar blowing is a communal one. We all listen to the elemental sounds of human life together. One person calls out the names of the shofar sounds and the other blows on the shofar. We recite Psalm 118 together, which begins with the verse : “In my distress I called on the Lord” but goes on to say “ Teach me goodness of sense and insight”. Even at a dramatic moment of enthronement and judgment, our voices, and sacred abilities to have goodness and insight in our lives are never in doubt. It is the blessing of being a human and the gift we share with the world on its birthday.