Rosh HaShannah 5772: "A Loving Call"
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
On Rosh HaShannah, after hearing the Shofar each of the three times during Musaf, we recite these words:
"May the words of our lips be pleasing to You, God, who listens, discerns, considers, and attends to the sound of our shofar blast. Lovingly accept our offering..."
God "listens, discerns, considers, and attends to the sound of our shofar blast"? This vision is of a God who needs, listens, and loves, a God Who is not content to be Alone. The very title Melech/King, used throughout Yamim Nora'im points to this as well. We do not believe in a gendered definition of God (nor do we deal particularly well with authority) but this title implies relationship, for what is a ruler without subjects? And we wish it to be this way, which is why we plead "May the words of our lips be pleasing... lovingly accept our offering." As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschelz"l taught, "Judaism shows it to be a need to be needed by God."
Our communities call each of us to stretch and support their vulnerable futures. Our country is struggling to emerge from a contraction that affects many, many citizens. The State of Israel is enduring an unparalleled moment of uncertainty. The world is aching for a better year.
I believe each of these calls us to lovingly offer what we can, to "avert the severity of the decree" through introspection and repentance, learning and Tzedakah - to commit our hands to the aspirational dreams our hearts express.
The shofar is jolt to the human soul, but it is also a piercing cry to God, who "attends" and "lovingly accepts" that which we offer. With every word, spoken and unspoken, may we bring our deepest dreams just a bit closer to reality.
The world is about to begin again. Thank God.
May this be a healthy, safe, year for you and those you love.
May it be a good year for our community, for Israel, and for the entire world.