Photo Credit: Jewish Press

A wordless, primal, undefined scream. Rambam writes how the shofar is intended to awaken us from our slumber. From sleepwalking through the vanities of this world – the mundane trivialities that we too often place at the center of our lives and allow to distract from our true spiritual goals.

Sometimes our most inner yearnings cannot be adequately contained in words. The ear-splitting shofar blast can transcend and break through the familiarity of our routine and security of our everyday materialistic existence to potentially reconnect us – albeit for a brief fleeting moment – to what we truly want to be and to achieve in our lives.


Similarly, according to Rambam, “the highest praise for G-d is silence.” Our human minds and certainly our vocabulary can never properly depict the infinite spiritual Creator. He is above and beyond words. Our minds can be trained to gain flashes of intuition and understanding of the divine. But nothing that can ever be contained in human language.

True spiritual phenomena lie in a realm which is above and beyond human language.


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Rabbi Shmuel Phillips is the author of Judaism Reclaimed: Philosophy and Theology in the Torah" (from which this is adapted). He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and four children.