The shofar has been described as “the alarm clock of the soul.” Each morning during the month of Elul we blow the shofar and take in its urgency- wake up! Wake up! The shofar reminds us that we need to be doing teshuvah NOW. That we need to be healing our relationships NOW! Imagine if you had a shofar ringtone on your phone for this entire month. Throughout the day that urgency would break into your consciousness- Rosh HaShanah is coming- how are you preparing yourself to enter the new year?
Most of us don’t blow the shofar each morning and we don’t have a shofar ringtone. So, as we come together on Shabbat we begin with a shofar blast. We think back to when we first heard the shofar, perhaps as small children? We recall the warmth of huddling close to our parents at this mysterious and haunting sound. The sound of that tekiah penetrates our resistance and cuts directly to our souls. The sound of the shofar conveys all of our unspoken prayers directly to the heavens.
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi notes that when children cry, they broadcast on a priority frequency that finds us no matter where we are. A Hassidic teaching suggests that we can learn from children to cry for what we want. As we listen to the sound of this tekiah, may our unspoken prayers rise up with the same urgency and passion as the cry of a child.