The day started with running. Running to the bus - for which I waited 10 mins - what a waste of energy! I did not keep to my lesson of "buses are unreliable". Nevertheless I was punctual for my first "advanced" Talmud class. We were going to learn about the shofar! So Rabbi Zvi Hirschfield gave us a list of verses we should look up in the Tanach and a set of Mishnayos to look at for more details. We got assigned a random chavruta from the class and off we went to different rooms for our chavruta! Of course everything while keeping the Corona guidelines. The class was composed out of 9 people and 2 people joined on zoom. The dynamic of the in-person / zoom participation was better than I expected. People thought along - for example typed out questions asked in person in the zoom chat - and worked together to make it as pleasant of an experience as zoom can possibly make it. Some takeaways from the class: The verses mention a Shofar and trumpets and they also bring up occasions when a sounding of such an air-instrument was common (and prescribed). For example to proclaim a Jovel year, or to announce a war, to gather people, to proclaim a joyous occasion. A shofar sound was also sounded when the camp of the Israelites was about to move on in their journey through the desert. So we see that that sound is a signal for moving. So what is the lesson? What is the common denominator between all of them? They are all to announce something BIG something transformative that is about to happen. Its supposed to prepare the people for this moment. Why is an air-instrument the right choice for this intent? An air-instrument takes breath, which is something quiet by nature and turns it into something big and loud! So an air-instrument is by its very nature transformative!
Dear friends and readers, I have decided to diverge for this post (and maybe further posts also) from relating to you my experiece of my first months on Jerusalem to sharing some of the Torah I am learning here in the Holy City, also to be fair to the title of this blog that I have chosen. The topic of the last days has been Tshuva. Many of you may have already learned what this concept of Tshuva is and means, and why we are focusing on this so much during this time of year. That all staying valid, I want to share some Torah around this topic with you. The literal translation of "Tshuva" in Hebrew is "return". Most of us have learned that Tshuva means repentence, but the literal meaning of the word, does not support this translation. Repentence means "feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin", but this is not what Tshuva is primarily about. Tshuva means return. Return to what? you may ask, and rightfully so. The most prev