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When Jacob returned to Israel after twenty-two years of being a minority in the city of Haran, where his uncle Laban lived, he said “I sojourned with Laban . . . and I acquired oxen and donkeys, flocks, manservants, and maidservants.[1]
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Home » High Holidays

High Holidays: A Silence Louder Than Words

Submitted by on June 12, 2006 – 12:24 amNo Comment | 1,281 views

An Early Judgment

During the course of this month we have sounded the Shofar every day in an attempt to inspire repentance, however, on the last day of this month we will purposely refrain from sounding the Shofar. This is explained
as a deliberate attempt to confuse the prosecuting angel. We want him to take our silence to mean that Rosh Hashanah is already behind us.


Our intention is not merely to mislead an angel (that would be overly simplistic) but to reach a point at which his misinterpretation is actually correct. Since we are certain that the daily sounding of the Shofar has inspired us to repent we are confident that by the end of the month our day of judgment will truly be behind us. We will have no sins for the angel to prosecute, no counts for the court to indict and no crimes for which the judge can convict.

The Deafening Silence

But what of those who have not been inspired to repent during this month? Why should they be deprived of the Shofar’s inspiring call? The answer is that the Shofar’s silence high holidays a silence louder than words - innerstreamspeaks even louder then its call. When we realize the extent of our prosecutor’s reach, a reach that forces us to forfeit the Shofar, we realize how low we have fallen. This realization inspires a repentance that supersedes the one inspired by the Shofar’s call. For the Shofar attempts to reach us from the outside in but this realization reaches us from the inside out.

May we achieve true repentance and merit a year of blessing, health and happiness.

Story

A man beseeched his rabbi for guidance on the path to repentance but the rabbi stubbornly refused. The man went to talk to the Rabbi’s brother and broke into bitter tears whereupon the brother scolded the rabbi for
not reaching out to a fellow Jew in his time of need. The rabbi replied, “I realized that this man must repent from within and that my guidance from the outside would not sufficiently penetrate. I am happy to see that he was inspired please send him in and I’ll be happy to help.”

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