Skip to main content

What about the shofar?

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!






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 days of Tshuva and Yom Kippur 5781

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

Sukkot 5781

Dear friends and readers, I know I promised, so here it comes. All my collected Sukkot Torah for you! And for those who would rather know how I'm doing - please reach out to me! I'd love to hear your voices and or see your lovely faces :) Sooo, Sukkot, such a wonderful holy day - or rather days! And so much to cover! I'll try to keep it short and concise. Every day (except the first, because it was Shabbat), we take the 4 species and shake them. A rather peculiar practise, don't you think? So what does it have to do with the topic of the holiday? It's not straightforward. Sukkot happens during the time of the year when all the harvest is finished. Harvesting is collecting, so we collect, bring together those 4 species and move them in all the 6 directions, and bring them back in, gathering together. Sukkot is also a pilgrimage holiday, so everyone who could come to Jerusalem to the Temple. The whole people were gathered at the holiest place on earth. We also learn t

Chanukka Thoughts 5781

Chanukka oh/r Channuka oh/r  Chanuka  oh/r  Hanuka  oh/r  Hanukka  oh/r  Hannukka  oh/r   Chanukkah? Pick your favourite! We are in the middle of the festival, which despite its recency has accumulated a wide range of – not only ways to spell it – but also halachot (laws). The Talmud opens its answer to “What is Chanukka?” with “We do not fast or eulogize on it”. A few pages further into the Tractate, the Talmud discusses more laws pertaining to Chanukka, such as when or where to light. One of my favourite laws of Chanukka is that one only fulfils the mitzvah of Lighting the Chanukka candles with lighting, rather than placing them. It seems somewhat superfluous, but the Sages were very concerned about the correct fulfilment of the commandment. A central idea that led the Sages when establishing those laws was the concept of  Publicising the Miracle . In that vein, they also established that any benefitting from the light of the candles is prohibited – the light can only be used for pub