Woman Blows Shofar at Ma’arat Ha’machpela to Bring in the New Year

by Avi Abelow

This lady is my sister and boy does she have a fabulous pair of lungs as she blows the shofar at one of the holiest sites of the Jewish people, in Hevron. She blew the shofar right in front of where Avraham and Sarah are buried.

What a way to bring in the new year, in a place of holiness for the Jewish people. She was there to also celebrate her birthday with friends and family by performing the special mitzvah of hafrashat challah (hence all the challah dough bowls.)

The Sound of the Shofar – By Rabbi Riskin
The Sounds of the Shofar: T’ruah – Look into yourself, and learn to weep.”

We communicate with words and we communicate with sounds: words express thoughts whereas sounds express emotions. Sounds are usually more honest, more genuine, than words. Words can be dissembling, deceptive; words can be crafted to attempt to hide and even betray the truest and deepest of our feelings, which often emerge inadvertently by a sob or a laugh. When the Biblical Joseph weeps (and although he was the most powerful man of his time in ancient Egypt, he wept often) he invariably reveals emotions which he himself didn’t know he still had, emotions he had endeavored to suppress and to forget – his love for his father even though he had disappointed him, his love for his brothers even though they had betrayed him. Indeed, in the bible it is the strongest people who weep.

Rosh Hashanah is Biblically call Yom T’ruah, the day of the staccato, broken sound of the ram’s horn, the day of the sigh (shvarim) and the sob (t’ruah). Re-consideration of one’s life, re-creation of oneself, reestablishment of one’s relationship with G-d – in short, repentance can only begin with a cry, a tear, a sob and a sigh, an honest recognition that indeed one is mortal, indeed, one has fallen short, indeed, one is inadequate, indeed one needs others, indeed, one who is self-satisfied, complacent, smug is incapable of weeping. An individual who is self-satisfied, complacent, smug is only fooling himself; an individual who is self-satisfied, complacent, smug remains a fool.

When Lincoln Square Synagogue was still housed in an apartment (150 West End Avenue), a distraught woman entered my office one late Thursday afternoon and asked me to pray for her three year old daughter who was dying of leukemia, I certainly agreed, took her name and her daughter’s name, but told her how important it was for her to also pray, how G-d only responded to Mother Rachel when she herself prayed for her children. “But I can’t pray,” she said. “I’ve never been to synagogue; I hardly know I’m Jewish.” I took her into the “living-room sanctuary,” placed a Hebrew-English Prayer Book in her hands, opened the ark and left her alone. She emerged twenty minutes later, her cheeks bathed in tears. She thanked me, returned the Prayer Book, and said, “But I didn’t pray. I couldn’t. I could only weep.” I merely explained that her tears were the most heartfelt and profound prayer she could have possibly uttered.

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