The shofar may be likened to a spiritual alarm clock. It wakes us up from the slumber of our lives. We remember that our time is brief; tomorrow is a maybe, but the possibilities of today are right here. There’s a midrash that teaches us that God created the very ram that Abraham would later sacrifice (the shofar is a ram’s horn) before God even created the world!
The shofar is an important instrument (pun intended) indeed.
On the High Holidays, we listen to 100 blasts of the shofar. There are four different ‘kinds’ of blasts. I want to briefly discuss two:
The Sh’varim blast comes right before we listen to the final, loud (deep breath!) blast of T’kiyah G’dolah. The first is a series of short, staccato notes. The word sh’varim means ‘broken;’ we listen to several broken sounds. The final blast, as we know, is one long sound.
These sounds are a metaphor for the High Holiday experience. We are meant to take our broken lives (akin to the separate sounds of the Sh’varim) and transform them into the wholeness of theT’kiyah G’dolah." This month of Elul provides that opportunity.