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Home » Elul

Shofar: A Wake Up call

Submitted by on November 2, 2005 – 3:41 amNo Comment | 5,511 views

The Fire Marshal

The Hebrew month of Elul is upon us. During the course of this month we sound the Shofar every day in preparation for the Rosh Hashanah holiday that is soon approaching.

The story is told of a young man who was instructed by the village elders to travel to the nearest city to train under its fire marshal. Upon his arrival, the fire chief who was gladly willing to teach him the most
effective methods of fire control warmly received him.

While touring the city the young man wondered about an imposing tower that was erected on the front lawn of the city hall. The chief kindly explained that this was the central fire tower. Upon the unfortunate outbreak of a fire a previously appointed bugle boy was charged with climbing to the top and sounding his to alert the fire brigade.

The tall tower made a profound impression upon our young man. When he returned to the village he promptly left instructions for the construction of a fire tower. Taking the “learned” marshal by his word, the villagers built a beautiful tower. They couldn’t help but wonder how this tower would save them from the fire. Sure enough, a little while later a fire broke out. The newly appointed marshal grabbed his sparkling new bugle, climbed the ladder and let out a long, powerful blast.

The fire continued to burn and the chief sounded his bugle once more. As the fire intensified our chief grew first confused, then alarmed, and then desperate. He continued to sound the alarm as he watched the
dreadful fire consume the entire city. It was only later discovered that the young, inexperienced marshal omitted the all-important step of organizing an actual fire brigade for the bugle to alert.

The Shofar

Dear friends, we read this story and chuckle as we wonder who in the world might be so foolish. However, all to often we make similar mistakes.

For this story is meant as an allegory to the sounding of the Shofar. The fires are symbolic of our improper ways. The brigade is our determination to change. The proud and tall tower is our inflated ego and self worth. The call of the bugle is the sounding of the Shofar…

Often we listen to its sound and marvel at the memories it evokes. We completely miss the central theme of the Shofar, which is truly a clarion call to action, a call to putting out the fire, a call to saving ourselves from being overcome by personal desires and interests.

Let us resolve to heed the Shofar’s message and not repeat the mistakes of our Bugle boy.

With malice to none and forgiveness to all, let us make this a year of caring, sharing and giving.

A year of new perspectives and priorities. A year of renewed interest and commitment to the land of Israel, the people of Israel and perhaps most importantly, the G-d of Israel.

Shanah Tova