"A remembrance proclaimed with the sounding of the ram's horn, a holy convocation."
Rosh HaShana: the day on which all humanity stands before G-d in judgment and in recognition of His sovereignty over all creation. Just what is the central motif of this grand and lofty coronation ceremony? The blasting of the shofar - a ram's horn: "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall be a solemn rest unto you, a remembrance proclaimed with the sounding of the ram's horn, a holy convocation." (Leviticus 23:24)
How odd that an occasion so sublime and of such grandeur and loftiness as the universal declaration of G-d's dominion over all humanity should be accompanied by something so humble and unassuming as a ram's horn. True, in the Holy Temple the shofar sounded by the priest on Rosh HaShana was plated with gold and accompanied by silver trumpets, but in essence, the shofar blown in the Holy Temple was the same shofar blown today on Rosh HaShana. Why does G-d assign so prominent a role to the shofar on this of all days?
Rosh HaShana marks the day on which Adam, the first man was created, and it is fitting that on the day that all of Adam's descendants stand in judgment before G-d and declare His sovereignty over themselves. But simply making a verbal declaration attesting to the creation of man as a historical fact is not what G-d desires of us. We need to relive the creation of Adam, in which G-d "breathed into his nostrils a breath of life." (Genesis 2:7) We relive the experience by recreating it: It is this same breath which G-d breathed into us that we employ to blow the shofar and thereby proclaim testimony to our creation and to the King Who created us!
To truly accept upon ourselves G-d's sovereignty, to truly acknowledge Him as our creator we need to strip down our self perception way beyond what words can describe, way beyond what our intellects can possess. We must re-immerse ourselves in the wordless vibration of our own coming into being. For coming into being, renewing our potential for growth and change, this is how we declare G-d's sovereignty. This is how we reassume and reinvigorate our simple but pure created selves. And what better way to herald in the new year than by reclaiming our capacity for change and for growth. It is with this renewed potential to become that we prepare ourselves for the upcoming challenge of Yom Kippur and the new year that lays ahead.
Tune in to this week's TEMPLE TALK as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss the original six days of creation - which are happening all over again today - the time altering power of teshuva - repentance - and the sounding of the shofar on Rosh HaShana - a wordless tribute to the one King, recreating the breath of life, and retracing its path from the narrow to the expansive - sweetening the judgment!
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