The Call of the Shofar: A Return To Our Best Selves

Summer isn’t over yet, but here in our neighborhood there’s a hint of Fall in the air. Parents are shopping for backpacks and lunch boxes, and the local universities are preparing for the annual influx of college kids, with their summer tans and summer stories. Here at Kolbo, we are getting ready for the High Holidays, sourcing the finest machzor prayer books, resonant shofars, and pristine white kippot for your holiday rituals and celebrations.

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Each year as the summer winds down, we gear up for a season of introspection and festivity. For the Jewish community, this is a time dedicated to “Teshuva,” a term commonly understood as “repentance,” but that literally translates as “returning”. Each day of the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, synagogues around the world sound the shofar, its voice a call to return to our best selves, our personal and communal core values. The rhythm of the Jewish year builds in this time of reflection as a chance to course-correct, to remind ourselves of what matters most to us, and return to our spiritual efforts.

Playwright Samuel Beckett wrote, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Each year when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur come around, it is a chance to examine the progress we have made in the past year and try again, with renewed enthusiasm. This cycle of goal-setting, striving, reflection and adjustment is built into the cycle of the year, guiding us toward personal growth and self-awareness. With each cycle, we move higher and higher as we refine who we spiritually are and who we wish to be.

In this busy season of back-to-school, of holidays and new routines, how can we find time to realign our spiritual selves?

We can…

  • books-min…set aside time to refamiliarize ourselves with the High Holiday services. Opening a machzor in advance and exploring the flow of the service gets our minds thinking about the main themes of these holy days, and allows us to show up to synagogue warmed up for the spiritual conversation. Jot down a few powerful thoughts or phrases that stand out, or even things that spark curiosity, to think more about as the service unfolds.

 

  • …take a moment to take stock. How did the past year go and what would we like to change? How are we making our core values real in our day-to-day lives? What manageable goals can we set for ourselves and our families to get where we want to be in the coming year?

 

  • pom-mindive back into the richness of the mitzvot. The Torah gives us so many ways to elevate our own lives and the world around us. On Rosh Hashana we eat pomegranates, each of the 613 seeds representing a unique mitzvah, a unique opportunity to bring a little holiness into the everyday. By choosing a new mitzvah to focus on in the coming year, we recommit ourselves to the spiritual journey and realign ourselves with our goal to better our world. A meaningful reminder of this can be a special piece of pomegranate art to beautify our holiday table. It can be a lovely conversation starter at a thoughtful festive meal.

 

  • shofar bouqet-min…go out of our way to hear the call of the shofar. We can use this moment to connect to our best selves, to the part of us that yearns for holiness and spiritual fulfillment. Capture the stillness by meditating, perhaps visualizing a flame that reaches upward always. As the sound of the shofar fades, we can go about our day knowing that this resilient flame burns within each of us.

 

We wish you the very best this season, and in the new year ahead! Drop by if we can help you with any of your High Holiday needs, or even just so we can wish you a Shana Tova. We look forward to another wonderful year together!

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