Root Source teacher Rabbi Adler has started a 30 day series of Torah thoughts.
30 days/ 30 reflections leading to Rosh Hashanah
A thought about sounding the shofar: at the beach, the lifeguard blows the whistle whenever someone goes too far, beyond the safety point. The shofar reminds us not to wander too far on the oceans of life. We may have wandered from our tradition, our family bonds, our charitable nature, our faith in a higher power, our true and authentic selves. The shofar of Elul calls every Jew- EVERY Jew- and says, “My child, you have wandered a bit too far on the ocean. If you keep going any further, we may lose each other forever.” We have a month to make our way home.
Here in Israel, anyone with foreign currency can go to one of many storefronts and get what they need. The name of the store is called “Change.” Simple, concise, done. “Change” is the theme of these coming days, though it’s hardly as simple as the sign suggests. The legendary Rabbi Yisrael Salanter is said to have observed that it is easier to master the entire Talmud than to improve just one aspect of our character. To the Jewish way of thinking, life is about growth, improvement, transformation, CHANGE. Every step of growth, especially during these days, is a diamond to be treasured.
We may have to apologize for hurting those closest to us. Rabbi Baruch Ber Leibowitz was the head of the Kaminetz yeshiva, which became one of the most prestigious in Europe until its destruction during the Holocaust. When visiting the US he visited the home of one of his students, Rabbi Koppel. When entering the house Mrs. Koppel was listening to and enjoying a melody on the record player. In honor of the presence of Rabbi Leibowitz, Rabbi Koppel turned off the music and brought a chair for his distinguished guest. Rabbi Leibowitz didn’t sit, rather he asked to speak to his student privately outside. The Rabbi looked quite upset and said, “How did you allow yourself to turn off the record player without asking your wife?? You likely insulted her. I understand you did it in my honor, but is this the way you honor your wife? Please go back in now and ask for forgiveness.”