The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Elul 11, 5766/September 4, 2006

Listening to the Shofar: Hearing the Divine Breath of Life
parashat Ki Tavo

The month of Elul provides us with a spiritual moment in which to shed our worldly pretensions and vanities, and simply be ourselves. For our our essential and simple inner self is what G-d truly desires as He sets out from His remote abode, as it were, and seeks us out now in the month of Elul. Preparing for the judgment of all mankind is not so much a matter of taking on vows of self improvement as it is stripping ourselves of all the dross and illusion of self-importance in which we envelope ourselves throughout the days of the year.

Rosh Hashana marks the completion of the process of creation of all existence with the birth of Adam Harishon - the first man. Having created the parameters of His kingdom, G-d now breaths the breath of like into Man - His subject. And as the descendants of the first Man, we are all His subjects, and no day is more propitious for recognizing G-d's sovereignty over us all than Rosh Hashana, the day of our birth. And only once we have recognized G-d's role as our creator and our Sovereign are we able to take upon ourselves the awesome task of repentance.

G-d draws near to us in this month of Elul, (the King is in the field), and we in return draw near to Him as we stand before Him on Rosh Hashana. The purity of this intimacy can be seen in the Hebrew letter yod which is associated with the month of Elul. The smallest and simplest of all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the yod represents that small, still pure, still unspoiled spot within us that connects us to the Divine. Similarly, the Rosh Hashana service focuses on the single commandment to hear the sound of the blowing of the shofar. For the voice of the shofar is the voice within us, the very breath of life which G-d has breathed into us. By hearing the shofar we are reliving our own birth as Adam on the sixth day of creation. We are literally inspired to renew and refresh our life-bond with our Creator.

Join Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven as they discuss Elul, Rosh Hashana, and prayer on the Temple Mount in this week's TEMPLE TALK broadcast.

Click to hear:

Part 1
Part 2