MWU Rosh Hashanah Message
During each morning of this month of Elul – the last month of the Hebrew calendar - we listen to the voice of the Shofar announcing the arrival of the most sacred days of the year, the Yamim Nora’im - the stirring Days of Awe, filled with sanctity and immense significance for our lives.
The Voices of the Shofar:
T'kiah, which resembles a shout;
Sh'varim, the three broken notes that evoke a complaint;
T'ruah, the short sounds like distressed weeping.
All these voices express many of our moods and feelings,
and the effect that our personal voices have in the others.
During the year concluding our own voices gave joy, comfort, understanding and love, but also inflicted sadness, pain, restlessness, even violence. Our voices showed our sincere involvement with others, but our silence indicated our indifference.
The great Spanish 10th century sage Rabbi Saadia Gaon gives 10 reasons to explain why the voice of Shofar is heard during Rosh Hashanah and days preceding it. Among them, this great teacher says the call of the Shofar keeps constantly alert, so necessary at a time when we appear before our Creator, introspectively recognizing our errors and faults over the past year. The Shofar calls us to teshuvah, frank repentance of our errors of omission and commission, things we did not mean and things we meant; the call of the Shofar is a voice directed to our inner consciences, dulled by the frenetic pace of our busy lives.
The moving roar of the Shofar is then, the primal voice of our own consciences; a voice in a code, piercing and consoling, awakening part of our spirits. But, however shrill and inspiring as it sounds to us, we can truly awaken to the call of the Shofar by awakening our own inner voices, those voices of our conscience stilled by our own inertia, habits, apathy and laziness. Only the dialogue between these two voices of the Shofar and of our inner souls can turn the Yamim Nora’im into effective Days of emotional turmoil, when we feel the quickening pulse of our hearts leading us onto the way to change and self-improvement.
These days of Elul can reconnect us with our most intimate beings, our own sublime interests, the finer aspirations of our lives, our love for those who need us so much. Thus, these days make possible the dialogue the voices proposed by the Shofar, that dialogue which is the Divine intention of a better world resulting from a more human humanity, a humanity more conscious of our fears and failings, the achievements and hopes of others.
May this Rosh Hashanah 5784 instill in us all the firm intention to restore the strength of our weakened or lost dialogue
with those who love us and whom we love;
with those we are acquainted with;
with the strangers in our midst;
and the Kadosh Baruj Hu, the Holy One, Blessed be He,
the Merciful God who calls to let Him enter our hearts.
May this year be one of health, dialogue, peace and harmony for all.
May God grant to us a great year filled with achievements, satisfaction, health and happiness in the company of our loved ones.
LeShanah Tovah ticatevu vetechatemu!
May you and yours be inscribed for a Good Year!
RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO
Deputy CEO & Director of Education
Maccabi World Union