web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



The Shofar’s Eternal Call

"When we were liberated, we blew the shofar again and my father took it with him."
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

As I get ready for Rosh Hashanah, so many memories rush into my mind. I remember my early childhood in Hungary. When the shofar was blown on Rosh Hashanah we stood at attention. None of the children – or, for that matter, even the toddlers – dared move. We were raised to know that one mustn’t make a sound at that sacred moment. As for the elderly, they wept, their tears silently streaming from their eyes. They wept not only during the call of the shofar but throughout the davening.

These days, that sense of awe has disappeared. When someone cries in shul we assume something must be terribly wrong. We ask ourselves: Who is ill? Who needs a shidduch for a daughter or a son? Who needs parnassah? After all, why would anyone cry unless he or she was in desperate need?

In Europe we wept just because we were in shul, just because we were standing before our Creator.

You can imagine, therefore, how we suffered in Bergen-Belsen as Rosh Hashanah drew near and we had no shofar, no machzor. The rabbis held secret meetings. They tried to ascertain how they could possibly obtain a shofar and a machzor. There was a black market in the camp and things could be acquired for the right price, especially if those “things” were Jewish ritual items. They were all in the junk pile waiting to be destroyed.

So it was through the heroic efforts of our people that 300 cigarettes were collected to buy a shofar and a machzor. But there was another problem. One shofar could be heard by multitudes but surely one machzor would not suffice. So once again our rabbis designed a plan. Everyone would learn at least one prayer to be recited from memory. But which prayer, which Psalm, which berachah?  Surely all the supplications, all the Psalms, all the blessings in the machzor are holy.  So which one should it be?

The decision was made: “Bochen levavos – let us pray to Him who searches and tests our hearts on that day of judgment.”  Yes, we invited G-d to come to Bergen-Belsen and examine our hearts in order to see for Himself that despite our pain and suffering we had not faltered one bit in our faith and love for Him.

Adjacent to our compound was a Polish camp (the Nazis often kept nationalities separate). Somehow our Polish brethren got wind of our treasure. So when Rosh Hashanah came and the piercing cry of the shofar was sounded, our Polish brethren crept close to the barbed wire fence separating us to hear the ancient call. The Nazis came running and beat them mercilessly. But even as the truncheons were falling on their heads they cried out, Blessed is the Lord our G-d who has commanded us to listen to the sound of the shofar.”

Many years later I was lecturing in Israel in a village in Samaria called Neve Aliza. It was late summer, just before Rosh Hashanah, and I felt a need to tell the story of the shofar of Bergen-Belsen. When I finished, a woman in the audience got up. “I know exactly what you are talking about,” she said, “because my father was the rabbi in the Polish compound.  You may not realize this, but your shofar was smuggled into our camp in the bottom of a large garbage can filled with soup and my father blew the shofar for us.”

I looked at her, momentarily speechless.

“And that’s not all,” she went on to say. “I have the shofar in my house, here in Neve Aliza. When we were liberated, we blew the shofar again and my father took it with him. Today I have it here in Eretz Yisrael.”

With that, she ran home and returned a few minutes later with the shofar in her hands. We wept and embraced. Here we were, two little girls from Belgen-Belsen holding that shofar in the hills of Israel. I invite you to think about that and then to think about it again – and again.

The entire world had declared us dead. Millions of our people had been slaughtered but the shofar, the symbol of Jewish piety, triumphed over the flames. And G-d granted me the awesome privilege of rediscovering that shofar in the ancient hills of Samaria to which our people had returned after more than two thousand years of wandering, darkness, oppression and Holocaust – the miracle of our time.

The call of the shofar is eternal. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.  It is not musical. Those who lack understanding might describe its sound as primitive. But when the Jewish people hear the cry, it’s familiar. It awakens us.  We heard that cry before and we remember it. We heard it at Sinai when it entered our souls and it is forever embedded in our collective memory, in our inner hearts, in our very neshamahs.

Consider what we have been destined to hear with our own ears and see with our own eyes. We Jews have traversed the world, surviving long, tortuous centuries. Many of us have forgotten our past but even the most assimilated among us have never forgotten that shofar, that call that pierced the heavens and the earth.

Our generation has been blessed to behold that which our zaidies and bubbies could only dream of. We heard and saw the chief rabbi of the Israeli army, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, of blessed memory, blow the shofar at the Kotel and in Hebron and Kever Rochel after long centuries of exile. Its sound remains as fresh and inspiring as it was at Sinai. From Belgen-Belsen to Eretz Yisrael and back to Sinai; that would seem to be sufficient reason for every Jew to stand in awe and say, “Hineni, here I am, ready to serve my G-d.”

May the sound of the shofar that will summon us to welcome Mashiach be heard speedily in our own days.

With a heart full of prayers, blessings and love I wish my readers and all of Klal Yisrael a kesivah v’chasimah tovah.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Shofar’s Eternal Call”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A would-be preacher delivers his message of hate from the Muslim"holy site" on the Temple Mount.
Al Aqsa Mosque ‘Stand-Up’ Preacher Calls for Annihilation of the United States
Latest Judaism Stories
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Yet, ultimately, looking back, these “setbacks” turned out to be really for the patient’s best – for the good.

Business-Halacha-logo

In the afternoon, he reached into his pocket to check for the money, but it was empty. “The $50 bill must have fallen out,” Alex exclaimed. “It’s got to be in one of the rooms I was just at.”

Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Rashi in Shabbos 9b writes that the reason why the tefillah of Ma’ariv is a reshus is because it was instituted corresponding to the burning of the eimurim from the korbanos – which was performed at night.

It almost sounds as if Hashem is saying, “I have to keep Yaakov from getting too comfortable; otherwise he will forget Me. I can’t promise him sustenance because then he won’t need Me. He won’t write. He won’t call. He won’t love Me anymore.”

The Decree Of 1587
“Two Kabs Of Dinars Were Given…To King Yanai”
(Yevamos 61a)

Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

There’s a perfect mirror between Jacob running away from Esav to when he reunites with his brother.

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/the-shofars-eternal-call/2013/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: