Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Elul - Come Blow Your Horn!
Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:54:43 PM
Number of views: 112

Why do we blow Shofar during the month of Elul? Is it just to give the Bal Tokah (the Shofar Blower) a chance to warm up and practice for Rosh Hashana?

Rosh Hashana is a time to step back and regain our lost vision. The call of the Shofar is how we do it. The Rambam states that the message of the Shofar is to “Awaken those who are asleep.”

The Rambam’s analogy to sleep is profound. Because the dreams we experience in our sleep seem so real at the time, yet the moment we wake up, we realize that our dreams were merely illusions.

So too, we often live life in a spiritual slumber. We dream of accumulating material possessions and all the latest high-tech gadgets and we forget about our true purpose in life. Some people think that life is all about acquiring the newest and the latest high-tech toys. As Danny DeVito famously philosophized: Whoever has the most possessions when he dies, WINS.

The Shofar reminds us that Danny DeVito’s philosophy is false! The Shofar is
G-d’s wakeup call, His spiritual alarm clock, to remind us of why we are in this world. It calls us to regain our vision, to transcend our daily mundane affairs and to return to who we really are. According to the Zohar, the Shofar is G-d’s dialogue with our souls. The Shofar sounds beckon us to live a Torah way of life by making the world a better, kinder, and more compassionate place.

It is significant that Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgement, takes place on the anniversary and birthday of the creation of Adam. There is a profound connection between these two aspects of Judgement Day. The fact that G-d created the world and the human being means that life has a Divine purpose.

At the heart and soul of Judaism’s world view is that life has an elevated purpose. G-d created each and every one of us to carry out a unique mission, by fulfilling His Mitzvot. People can forget the true purpose of life, and slip into a
dream-like world, where trivial matters such as smart phones, assume inflated importance, and spiritual values are forgotten.

The Shofar, with its simple cry and sigh, awakens us to see the world the way it really is, instead of how it appears on TV, when we are in a state of spiritual slumber. G-d has given us the incredible gift of Rosh Hashana, to wake us up and reconnect us to Him! The Shofar reminds us who we are and why we are here in this world.

Reconnecting with our soul and with our true Divine purpose in this world brings with it great joy. This is why Rosh Hashana, though it is a day of Judgement, soul searching and introspection, is also celebrated as a joyous Festival.

Rosh Hashana is THE DAY on which we celebrate the profound joy of discovering our unique purpose in life, of renewing our sense of, “NO ONE CAN DO IT MY WAY.”

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