Friday, 18 September 2020
"In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; it is a day of blowing the shofar for you." (Numbers 29:1, CJB)
Tonight starts Yom Teruah, also known as Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally this is the head of the year, the New Year. New beginnings are exciting times - times to start again, to plan ahead, to dedicate our lives again to the L-rd. Appropriately, this is also the start of the Ten Days of Awe that lead into Yom Kippur.
The blowing of the shofar reminds us that time is short, that all of us - believers and non-believers alike - will have to answer for our time and our deeds before the throne of G-d. Will they match up to the holiness of G-d or will they fall short? We may have eternal redemption, but none of us are exempt from needing to live to G-d's standards.
The blowing of the shofar also reminds us of presence of G-d, so very near us. Do we try to "go it alone" and muddle through by ourselves? Or do we live in partnership with G-d and call on His Ruach to help and sustain us?
This year many of our celebrations are going to be curtailed or, at the very least, done differently to allow for regulations. The shofar call transends above the here and now to call us to something intangible - but let's not miss the check in our yearly rituals. Is there something we should be doing differently? How can we start this next year, 5781, so that we live with the sound of the shofar in our ears not just on this day but on all the days?
"And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" (Mark 13:37, NASB)