The Shofar

woman blowing shofar
First, we use the horn of a beast
in order to become the beast;
no intellect, submissive to its Master.
Second, we become the horn itself.
Not even a beast, but an inanimate horn
to be blown by the blower
just as we are blown into life.
Third, we become the sound of the horn.
Not even matter.
But sound that fills great spaces
and binds all objects and listeners
just as the Holy One
becomes the Holy Sound at Sinai
that we hear.
Fourth, we become the air
inside the sound.
The silent air before it is blown
into sound inside the horn of a beast.
We become the silence
of the Creator before creation.
Last, we return.
We become ourselves
standing next to one another
in the synagogue remembering
what we had become,
and where we had been.
Only then can we hear the shofar:
silence shaken into cries
on a journey from one end
of a bent beast’s horn to the other.
On a journey somewhere between our hearing
and the sounds we hear,
somewhere between the blower
and the shofar blown,
somewhere between the Creator
and ourselves;
between ourselves and ourselves.
And from such a Place,
in such a moment, there is no boundary
between the head and its horn,
between the beast and its burden,
between its cries and the silence beneath its cries.
From such a Place
we say we hear the shofar blown.
And only then is the mitzvah fulfilled,
as are we full and filled.
We glance at each other knowingly,
hearing the Sound
through the horns of our own bent lives.
We all hear the same cries:
our own cries to our Maker.
Our Maker’s cries to us.
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