Shofar

Shofar

Imagine if you had the power to make everyone stop for a moment and think. Maybe you would like them to think about improving their family life. Maybe you would like them to think about giving charity or helping other people who are in need.

I wish that I could be like that.

The Shofar, which we are about to blow, does just that.

It does the difficult job of getting people to stop thinking about business, personal problems, important meetings and what lunch will be.

When most people hear the Shofar they do at least a little bit of soul searching.

Historically the Shofar had many uses. Some of these uses were good others were bad. The most dramatic use of the Shofar was in a time of war. When the enemy would attack the people were warned of the danger with a shofar. This is the same as the use of air raid sirens which I heard many times in Israel during the Gulf war.

Upon hearing the shofar just before the enemy attacks people would do a lot of soul searching. They would say to themselves, “What could we have done to prevent this?” Many decide that if they survive they will change themselves and their bad ways.

In order for people to change themselves for the better they often need to be shaken up. Certainly hearing the shofar warning of imminent attack shakes people up.

The Shofar which we blow today can be looked at like that. The real enemy from whom we need to be aware of is within ourselves. Some call it the Yetzer Harah. Call it what ever you would like. Each of us has a drive to do certain things which are bad. Some want to damage other people’s property, some like to lie, some steal and some like to control other people. Everyone has their favorite.

When you hear the shofar think about the internal enemy who prevents personal growth.

Their is a famous story in the book Chovot Halevavot.

A wise man once saw two men wearing armor. They were returning from a very difficult battle which they won. They looked very proud. The wise man said to them that they have just won a very small battle. They should now prepare for the battle against the inclination to do evil.

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