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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘shofar’

The Sounds Of The Shofar

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

The New Year is marked by one commandment: the mitzvah of blowing the shofar. And yet the rabbis formulated the blessing before the actual performance thus: “…who has commanded us to listen to the sound of the shofar.”

How strange it is that the beginning of the New Year has no active commandment. Unlike Sukkot, during which we live in a booth for seven days, take the four species every single day, etc., and unlike Pesach, which is filled with many actions performed both before the advent of the holiday itself (searching for and burning the chametz) and on the Seder night, the New Year has only one commandment.

What are we being asked to do as the New Year begins? What does the sound of the shofar mean?

Rabbeinu Nissim comments that what we call Rosh Hashanah was actually the day man was created. For five days God formed and created a marvelous world of intense beauty in preparation for the crowning act: the creation of man.

It was a world that contained billions upon billions of galaxies in the heavens, as well as oceans, seas, lakes, and majestic mountains on earth. It was a world of perfection, and with each act that was completed God said it was good. And then, on the sixth and final day of creation, man was formed from the dust of the earth. And God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and therefore decided in His wisdom to create a partner that would be a “helper” in order to share in the building of the world.

And man was told he would have access to every single tree of the Garden of Eden, but as far as the “tree of knowledge” and its fruit he was commanded, “do not eat from it, for on the day you do you will surely die.” Thus, the first and only commandment was one of listening to the voice of the Creator. And the midrash, in the name of R’ Pinchas, says the reason for the command was so that Adam and Chava would constantly remember the Holy One Himself, the One Who had given them this one command.

But instead of listening to this divine command, Adam and Chava chose to follow the snake (some say the snake was actually the evil inclination or man’s internal conscience). And Chava ate from the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam. It is then that they both heard the “voice of God walking in the Garden itself.” And God turned to them and asked a seemingly insignificant question: “Where are you?”

Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe, comments that the question was not only posed to the first man and woman but has meaning for every generation. Asked the Alter Rebbe: “Did God not know where Adam was?” And he explained that “where are you?” is God’s perpetual call to every man. Where are you in the world? You, who have been allotted a certain number of days, hours, and minutes to fulfill your mission in life; where are you? What have you accomplished?

A totally different explanation of man’s attempt to “hide” from God in the aftermath of the sin is given by the biblical commentator Cassuto: “Why do man and his wife choose to hide among the trees of the garden?” Was there no other place than the scene of the crime? He answers that the text seems to be hinting that even when a person attempts to forget or hide his transgression, he cannot silence the voice of his own conscience and erase the footprints of his actions. No matter how far we try to remove ourselves from our responsibilities, we cannot escape what we have done. Always the voice of “where are you?” will follow us.

R’ Shneur Zalman and Cassuto agree that the voices of God and man on that sixth day of creation reverberate throughout time. And just like the voice of “where are you” signifies a message, so too the sounds of the shofar have messages for us. They call on us to take an accounting of our lives and actions to determine where we have been and where we are going.

The sounds of the shofar, however, are not limited, but are different. First, we always begin with the straight sound of the tekiah. That is followed by the broken sounds of shevarim and teruah. But we always end each section with the straight sound of the tekiah at the end. The sounds of the shofar, in essence, are the voices of man –our own voices and our own conscience. While we start any process, project, or even the year ahead with a clear path to accomplishing our goals, we often suffer setbacks, hurdles, or mistakes. These are the personal shevarim, which are brief – but sometimes they can be longer or more difficult; these are the sounds of teruah. What the return to the tekiah tells us is that there is always a way to return, to go back to the path we have chosen and the goals we set out for ourselves.

For the past several weeks we have been reading the words of consolation from the prophet Isaiah. We began reading his words of comfort nachamu, nachamu (comfort ye, comfort ye) after the ninth of Av, which marks the destruction of the Holy Temple and many other national tragedies in Jewish history. These were all shevarim, tremendous setbacks to our people. But after all the words of consolation we come to the very last one where we read about the eventual redemption of Israel with the following beautiful words: “I will rejoice in God…for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, the cloak of charity-just like those of the high priest and the jewelry of a bride.”

In the Garden of Eden man and woman clothed themselves with fig leaves following their sin, but in the future it will be God who will “clothe” the Jewish people and all mankind with the purest of garments. They are the garments that were worn by the high priest as he entered the Holy of Holies in order to offer the incense offering. And these are the special jewels that are worn by the bride as she prepares herself for the marriage ceremony.

The sounds of the shofar bring us back to our encounter with our Creator and with ourselves. And they are the sounds that remind us of our holiness and our spiritual goals.

May this year be one of blessings and accomplishments. Shanah Tovah.

Rabbi Zalman Eisenstock

Chabad Chayil Holds Shofar Factory And Honeybee Workshop

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Chabad Chayil held a shofar factory and honeybee workshop on Sunday, September 11. The family event was a hands-on learning experience. Participants brought home their own shofar to keep as a token of the fun-filled day that included seeing how bees make honey with “Willie the Bee Man” and learning all about the shofar and how it is made.

Chad Chayil is located at 2601 NE 211 Terrace in Highland Lakes. Call 305-770-1919 or e-mail office@ChabadChayil.org for more information on the many programs and events available throughout the holidays.


Children participate in shofar factory.

Children participate in shofar factory.

Shelley Benveniste

Why Blow the Shofar in Elul?

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Rabbi Jonny Roodyn discusses the background of the shofar blowing throughout Elul from the rooftop of Aish Hendon! Followed by a Shofar blowing!

Video of the Day

The Sticky Shofar

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Video of the Day

Religious Zionist ‘ Tzohar’ Group Launches ‘Listening Together for Shofar’

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

More than 55,000 people will be hosted by members of the religious Zionist movement this year in 55 different locations around Israel to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.

It is a new project that celebrates the 16th year of the Yom Kippur ‘Praying Together’ program carried out in 295 locations and sponsored by Tzohar, the religious Zionist rabbinical organization in Israel.

After 15 years of successful and expanding Yom Kippur programs, Tzohar will now also host families to hear and learn about the shofar and its importance during the Rosh Hashana prayers.

Over 350 Tzohar volunteers and their families are being placed all around the country to accommodate all those communities who wish to participate. “Going to a religious synagogue can be an intimidating and sometimes off-putting experience for someone who doesn’t regularly attend or associate with that particular community,” said Rabbi David Stav, co-founder of Tzohar.

“We have seen such an outpouring of desire for Jewish connection by the secular community, especially relating the High Holidays, that we knew something had to be done to accommodate them.

“By moving these important Jewish life cycle events to a neutral locations – such as community centers or event halls – it becomes more much inviting and accessible for anyone interested in connecting with their Jewish tradition.” All attendees are provided with the same siddur or machzor to make it easier to follow along, as well as with explanatory pamphlet written by Tzohar about the customs, prayers and meaning of the High Holidays to help guide the participant throughout the services. “Tzohar is continuously adding additional programs to encourage Jewish participation in life cycle events,” said Yakov Gaon, Executive Vice President of Tzohar.

“The powerful reaction to the Yom Kippur program and our other holiday activities showed the excitement and connection people feel. Adding Rosh Hashana programming was a natural next step.”

Hana Levi Julian

Making a Shofar

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Rabbi Nissan of Efrat teaches how to make a shofar and blow it. In the current Hebrew month Elul, the month of Selichot (forgiveness), there is the Jewish custom of blowing the Shofar every morning.

Photo of the Day

Grass Roots Jewish Groups Condemn NYC Jewish Leadership for Condoning BDS

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

For the second time in as many years, grass roots pro-Israel New Yorkers held a rally outside the NYC UJA Federation building and blasted their shofars to bring attention to what they are describing as a deficiency of leadership.

More than a hundred people showed up to hear speeches criticizing the NYC UJA-Federation, especially its president, Alison Doctoroff, for giving their hecksher to organizations that seek to financially harm Israel, and to join in the 100-strong Shofar blowing intended to focus attention on the problem.

The pro-Israel activists were protesting the decision made by the UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council leadership to allow groups which support boycotts of such iconic Israeli products as SodaStream and Ahava to once again march in the NYC Celebrate Israel Parade.

Beth Gilinsky, the president of the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, one of the organizational supporters, has been trying for many years to galvanize what passes for institutional Jewish leadership in the United States to take strong affirmative positions on behalf of Jews and the Jewish State. She sees the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) campaign as the latest anti-Semitic strategy, one for which too many Jews have fallen.

“Through heavily-funded tsunamis of lies, disinformation, and agitprop, BDS seeks to malign what is beautiful and positive and strong about Israel. BDS is evil and essentially anti-Semitic, passing off as expressions of ‘justice’ false accusations against Israel and Jews. Israel is not an ‘apartheid’ state, as the BDSers propound, but in so many ways is the one beacon of light and progress in a neighborhood teeming with brutality and oppression.

“Skyrocketing BDS has led to increased threats and violence against Jewish people, Jewish institutions, and property. Even our young Jews are not free of it, as BDS has provoked a widespread climate of aggression against Jewish students on American campuses. I urge every Jew, and every Jewish organization across the globe, to step forward as a united front at this time in history to challenge those — be they Palestinian Arab agitators or hard Leftist Israel-bashers — working overtime to ignite anti-Semitism and destroy Israel.”

Richard Allen, the force behind JCC Watch, served as the master of ceremonies for Monday’s rally. Allen explained why so much of the focus of the rally this year was on UJA-Federation president Alisa Doctoroff. Doctoroff is a major supporter of the New Israel Fund, which funds entities that advocate boycotts of Israeli products. The NIF was permitted once again to march in the Celebrate Israel parade, which the UJA Federation and the NYC JCRC oversee.

Allen made the point: “Some of these groups are marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade when their purpose is NOT to celebrate Israel, but to denigrate it.”

Participant at 101 Shofar rally in NYC to protest BDS advocates in Celebrate Israel Parade. May 11, 2015

Participant at 101 Shofar rally in NYC to protest BDS advocates in Celebrate Israel Parade. May 11, 2015

New Yorker Lauri Regan, representing the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), also spoke at Monday night’s rally. Regan spoke about the growing delegitimization of Israel across the globe, and in particular how it manifests on U.S. campuses.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/grass-roots-jewish-groups-condemn-nyc-jewish-leadership-for-condoning-bds/2015/05/12/

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