According to the Torah, at sunset on the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, God will remove some of his light from the world. He will still remain present in a basic way, of course, or the world could not sustain itself. But that presence will be remote, withdrawn.
Then He will wait. The next move is ours.
During this time, the Jews believe, that through praying and blowing the Shofar, God will once again agree to be our King.
He will recommit to His relationship with our world. And when He does so, it will be with an entirely new level of light and power.
Entirely new possibilities – possibilities that never existed before - will enter the world. We will advance one giant step closer to our ultimate destiny.
But the first move has to come from us. We must renew our contract with our Creator if the world is to continue to exist.
Once each year, the world must choose God.
FROM TEARS TO TRANSFORMATION
Why the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn? What power does this primitive instrument have to bring down such an intense and essential light?
More than a simple horn, the shofar is an instrument of transformation.
Its sound is like a heartbroken cry, and its power is the power of tears.
Living in a physical world, subject to the many stresses and challenges of life on earth and subjugated to the relentless demands of our body and our ego, we are not even remotely aware of our own true potential.
Our soul, with all of its unlimited awareness, insight, creativity, love, and power, is trapped and suppressed.
But when our defenses break down, when we come face to face with our essential smallness and vulnerability within this vast universe, we cry out to God.
And this cry – this intense awareness of our own limitations – is what sets us free.
A broken-hearted cry can release your soul from its prison and leave you open to something completely new.
This freedom, not coincidentally, is also connected with the trumpet-blast of the shofar. In fact, it is the blast of ‘the great shofar’ – the shofar of Redemption - that will herald our ultimate freedom and transformation at the End of Days.
Weakness and power. Smallness and greatness. Isolation and Unity. Slavery and freedom. How do they go together? And how is it that the very same sound can symbolize both?
OUR TIMES IN ANCIENT PROPHECY
These chaotic times were foreseen in great detail millennia ago by the sages of biblical times. A full discussion of these prophecies is way beyond the scope of this article. But read the words below and see whether or not you think they describe our world today:
Insolence and self-centeredness will increase, there will be oppressing inflation, people will be addicted to the good life and the costs will be high, moral standards will dissolve, morality and wisdom will be denigrated, there will be unbridled irresponsibility on the part of authorities, centers of learning will turn into centers of immorality, poverty will increase, the young will denigrate the old, families will disintegrate, leadership will be impudent.
The world will see a succession of troubles, epidemics of terrible diseases, and international confrontations.
THE GREATER THE DARKNESS, THE GREATER THE LIGHT
Against this challenging, chaotic backdrop, we are being called upon to expand beyond our boundaries, to strengthen our relationship with our Creator and to actualize our own potential as partners in Creation.
We are living through the time of transition between exile and Redemption. Out of the breakdown of the old and unworkable, we have the opportunity to create something completely new.
In fact, it is our destiny.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE
Each one of us has a choice. We can choose to stay unconscious, trapped within the prison of our fears, confusion, resentments, and longings, remaining passive victims of circumstance. Or we can use this opportunity to begin to fly. To align ourselves with our destiny. To learn to be free.
Freedom is a lofty concept, but it’s lived in the choices you make each moment. In your relationships. In your spirituality. In your commitment to a life of joy and fulfillment. In your awareness of God’s nurturing presence in the intimate details of your daily life.
In remembering that you’re here for a purpose and being willing to do something each day to make that purpose come alive.
If you could create a new future, one not based on your fears and past failures, who would you be? How would you behave? What would you dare to create? Who would you thank? Who would you listen to and what would you share? What would you do to enhance your connection to God and your own essence? What part of you that you’ve given up on would you start to nurture? What dreams might you make come true?