New beginnings are always difficult.
For those who are not “morning people,” every day is a new beginning, and we must be thankful to whoever invented the alarm clock, which keeps us from being labeled as “slothful” and “lazy.”
No other beginning is quite as profound as the one we face annually at Rosh Hashana. On the Jewish New Year, God gives all people the chance to face His judgment and wipe their slate clean.
Looking honestly at one's actions and resolving to make changes to one's life is a daunting task. Just as in the morning, people naturally desire to continue sleeping and not waken at what feels like the crack of dawn, most people wish to roll over and bury their heads back in the blanket rather than face the challenge of change.
The great symbol of Rosh Hashana is, of course, the shofar. Knowing well the nature of people, the sages realized that what was really needed was an "alarm clock." They therefore instituted the custom of blowing the shofar every morning during the month of Elul, the month preceding Rosh Hashana. When the shofar is sounded in the synagogue, it is meant to serve as an alarm clock that awakens our souls and reminds us that Rosh Hashana is soon at hand.
This Treat was originally sent on Monday, September 22, 2008.
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