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September 25, 1987 - Image 170

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

HIGH HOLY DAYS

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• • • •

THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

ON CABLE T.V.

The public address will mark the Yortzeit of the Rebbe's mother
Rebbetzin Chana.

RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON rew5v)

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1987
9:30 P.M.

CONTINENTAL CABLEVISION
CHANNEL 11

ALSO CAN BE SEEN FREE OF CHARGE AT

CONG. MISHKAN ISRAEL NUSACH H'ARI LUBAVITCHER CENTER

14000 WEST NINE MILE ROAD

166

FRIDAY, SEPT. 25, 1987

OAK PARK, MICHIGAN 48237

Shofar blowers are generally
ordinary Jews who, for a short time
during the High Holidays, assume
semi-mystical status

LEAH ABRAMOWITZ

Special to the Jewish News

T

he central part of the
Rosh Hashanah ser-
vice, the section which
inspires hushed awe and con-
centration, is the shofar blow-
ing ceremony. According to
the rabbis, the shofar (ram's
horn) has the ability to arouse .
fear and trembling, as it says
in the book of Amos, 3: "If a
shofar is sounded in the city,
will the people not tremble?"
Who are the people with the
responsible task of turning
hearts to "teshuvah"
(repentence) and kindling the
determination to do better?
The shofar blowers are
generally ordinary Jews —
tinkers, tailors, candlestick
makers — who on the High
Holidays suddenly assume
semi-mystical status during
the short time they are "cen-
tral stage."
Zev is a well-known doctor
in Jerusalem whO has been
blowing the shofar since the
age of fifteen. "Now," he ad-
mits, "I wouldn't have the
chutzpah to blow in public at
that age. It was a bit of
schwitz (show off) then." Josh,
an accountant-lawyer, began
even earlier. "My father was
a shofar blower. He had
shofarot lying around the
house. I must have been three
or four when I started tooting
into one."
Zev and. Josh both begin
practicing a month before
Rosh Hashanah. At the mor-
ning minyan from the second
day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, it
is a custom to blow the shofar
daily to get the congregation
attuned to and in the proper
frame of mind for the Days of
Awe.
Shofar blowing is an art
which requires much skill,
good lungs, enough practice,
but also mazel (luck). Zev ex-
plains, "The first _ blow is
critical. If it doesn't go
smoothly, you're nervous the
whole time." Josh, too, takes

Leah Abramowitz is a writer who
lives in Israel.

the responsibility seriously.
He doesn't want to disappoint
the congregation. There is
even an old wives' tale that if
the shofar blowing goes well,
they will all have a good year.
In the service, extensive
preparations precede the
shofar blowing, to emphasize
its awe-inspiring effect. In
some congregations, the
blower, the prompter and the
reader immerse themselves
in a mikvah before the actual
blowing. Meanwhile, the wor-
shippers study the meaning
and significance of the tekiyot
and endeavor to reach the cor-
rect level of devotion. The rab-
bi often gives an inspiring
drasa (talk) to move the

There is a legend
that the very same
angel that
determines how
the shofar blowing
goes is also in
charge of the
success of
Shabbat cholent.

listeners to penitence and
warn them of the strictures of
the shofar.
The congregation recites
Psalm 47 seven times "to
penetrate" theseven fir-
maments of Heaven." While
the blower recites a private
prayer to be found worthy and
to enlist divine assistance for
his blowing, the congregation
recites six other verses. The
bracha is recited, as well as
Shehechiyanu (the blessing of
thanksgiving) and the blow-
ing commences.
There is a legend that the
very same angel that deter-
mines how the shofar blowing
goes is also in charge of the
success of Shabbat cholent.
"How is it possible that one
angel gets two such disparate
jobs?" Josh asks with a smile.
"How is it possible that one
angel performs two tasks?"
The answer is, he doesn't.
"That's why on Shabbat we
never blow the shofar," he
sums up semi-seriously.

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