Words going into Rosh Hashana

Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah. These are the words called out immediately preceding the blowing of the shofar for Rosh Hashana.  The sound of the shofar reaches into the consciousness of each one of us to a common primordial heritage stretching all the way back to Abraham and the Akidah story (the binding of Isaac). Tomorrow, we read the story of the Akidah. In the story, G-d choses a goat for a sacrifice, not Isaac.

The reading of the story and the sound of the shofar serve as reminders for every observer of the sparing of Isaac, of G-d’s love, and of sacrifice. In the upcoming days, we will need to be prepared to make sacrifices and resolutions for the next year. We will need to atone for our sins and commit many acts of teshuvah (repentance).

It is these sacrifices that make us human. In the story in Genesis, attaining knowledge from the tree and consuming the forbidden fruit go hand and hand with a huge sacrifice: banishment from the Garden of Eden. Autonomy came at a price. But it is through these sacrifices that we are able to be closest with G-d.

Let the sound of the shofar and the stories from the Torah awaken in all of us a commitment to make the upcoming year, and the next couple of days, better. Let Tekiah, Shevarim, and Teruah awaken in each of us new aspirations and desires to become close with G-d and G-d’s people. Ken Yehi Ratzon (may it be G-d’s will).