Yemenite Jew blowing the Shofar
I finally did it. For almost 20 years I have been thinking about how to reconcile Psalms 81 which specifically says to blow the Shofar on new moon with the traditional Karaite view that there is no commandment to blow the shofar on the Yom Teruah (i.e., what the Rabbanites call Rosh Ha-shanna), which is a new moon. And this weekend, as I was preparing for a class I taught at a Conservative Synagogue, I did it.
It was actually pretty easy once I read the entirety of Psalms 81 (and not just the part that was perplexing me).
Where to begin? I’ve spent the better part of two weeks explaining that the holiday Jews just celebrated is not “Rosh Hashanah” – and I’ve also tirelessly explained that Karaites do not observe an additional day for our holidays.
So, I never thought I’d be writing a post about profound life lessons I learned on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah.
Ancient Israelite blowing a Shofar on Rosh Hashanah . . .
(photo source: USA Today Photo Gallery)
If Biblical exegesis were anything like Sabermetrics, no one would think we are commanded to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
Well, to be precise, the Rabbinic community may continue to believe that we are commanded to blow a shofar on Rosh Hashanah; but Karaites would continue to be skeptical of any claim that such a commandment exists for Yom Teru’ah – the biblical name for what people call Rosh Hashanah.
Blowing a shofar on “Rosh Hashanah”
Source: WikiCommons; Jonathunder
I think the sound of the shofar is beautiful. I love what it has come to represent – Jews (even the least observant amongst us) gathering for the High Holidays. But I have actually never heard the sound of the shofar during my synagogue’s high holiday services. 34 years and counting!
And I hope that never changes.