Shofar: Revitalizing the Jewish Soul
By Tamar Strauss Benjamin
It was a really deep, meaningful and fun holiday. I had planned on doing what would have become a superficial "this is what we cooked and ate over the chag" post.
But then I was reading some of the readings and meditations on the side of the machzor pages and I had some pretty deep insights that I want to try to hash out.
"Every year, there descends and radiates a new and renewed light that has never shone...but through the shofar's soundings and by means of the prayers we utter, a new superior light is elicited...it's manifestation, however, depends on the actions of those below" -- Shneur Zalman of Lyady
This stuck out to me.
I thought of this light as I heard the 100 shofar blasts on both days of the chag. I let it fill me. I let myself invision how I could harness the sound to help me grow as a person this year.
How could I capture this light, this power, to grow to become the best person I can be? I did a great deal of thinking on who I am as a person and what I need to do to reach that goal, I hope that this beautiful vision will guide me to reach this goal.
"Avinu Malkeinu, bless my family with peace. Teach me to appreciate the treasures of my life and help us always to find contentment in one another...help us to renew our love for one another continually..." - Navah Harlow
Some of the deep thinking and reflecting I did over the past two days centered around my relationships with my family members. To be honest, I have a few strained relationships, and I have spent many hours thinking about them, being mad, sad, and indifferent. I had a major cathartic sob fest over the holiday and am feeling better. Ready for a year of peace and contentment with those I do have in my life. I am hoping to work on strengthening my connections with those closest and there the most for me, because that is what matters most.
"The blasts of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah revitalize the soul and mind of every Jew. Each one receives a new soul and a new level of understanding..." - Nahman of Bratzlav
For the first time, I feel revitalized after Rosh HaShanah. I feel like I did more than go through the motions of synagogue and praying and the other rituals. I feel like I understand myself better, I feel like I am in a good space.
This Rosh Hashanah was truly revitalizing for myself, it became more about the dipping the apples in the honey and eating the new fruits. These rituals became the substance to a meaningful experience, one that has really lifted me to a new space and I hope this new space can carry me forward to the next year.
Ramblings from my mind, I suppose. Then there was the idea I had while I cooked and ate and indulged in all the fancy holiday foods. What I first saw as shallow, cooking and wanting to take pictures of my food to blog about it, really might have some meaning.
While I nourished my soul in synagogue, I was also nourishing my soul with sweet and delicious foods and with wonderful company with family and friends. The perfect balance of Torah and tastes.
May it be a year full of reflections, growth, and life.
Republished with permission from author.