Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Shofar Blasts

It was a relaxing Chag (Holiday). I was able to really get into the davening (praying), and the hearing of the shofar this time got straight into my bones. I heard it in a way I had never heard it before (I've heard the shofar blown every year at this time since childhood). I heard it as a microchasm of my past year. It goes like this:

It is blown in patterns, and there are three types of calls. The first one "tikkiya" is one steady short blast. The next, "Shevarim", literally means "broken ones", and it is heard as three shorter blasts in a row. The remaining call is "terua", and it is 9 (or sometimes more) short blasts in a row. There are many explainations in Talmud for what these blasts symbolize, but this year I experienced it personally in this way:
The sounding of the shofar always starts and ends with a tikkiya. I heard that as "shleimut", or complete, whole. We start at birth; whole, complete, unmarred, perfect, if you will. It ends that way, too. We die, whenever it is, complete. In the middle is life; the broken sounds, literally called 'broken ones' (shevarim). I used the words many times this year in my writing "I feel broken"; my personal breaking points throughout the year. Then there are the sounds that are called "teruah", many short blasts in a row. To me, this symbolized tears and crying. So many tears shed in life, and for me, this past year especially. But at the end, we have the completion. I (and all of us) need to know that whatever is happening in life, there is a single strong blast, the completion. Maybe the completion of a certain life cycle, not necessarily the ultimate end.

And at the very end of the set of blasts, we hear the "tikkiya gedolah", the long, steady blast which lasts for a little longer than we all imagine it will last. To me, I pictured that as the coming of Meshiach, our Messiah whom we await.

And sometimes the "ba'al tekkiya" (one who blows the shofar for the community) misses a blast, or doesn't get it right on. I nod my head in acceptance, because we have to hear that, too.

No comments :

Post a Comment