Last year when I read the Torah portion Nitzavim right before Rosh Hashana I came across this passage in the Torah called Kabbalah bites:
Rabbi Isaac Luria taught: "Any person who does not cry on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur has an imperfect soul." This, of course, does not refer to tears of sadness and depression, but tears of joy at the immense spiritual disclosure which occurs on these holy days -- like Rabbi Akiva, who shed tears when secrets of the Torah were revealed to him by his teacher, Rabbi Eliezer.
I could understand the idea, but in practice it didn't make sense to me. I felt confused and questioned if this related to me.
Some times we read passages or see pictures, that remind us of a memory that, until we saw this reminder, was dormant within us. One year later I read this passage once again but with fresh eyes. During this Rosh Hashana service, I cried not only for the beautiful service, but much more. I cried because I felt fortunate to now understand what Rabbi Isaac Luria meant by crying, hearing the shofar blast, and self exploration. It's one thing to read and comprehend the passage like I did last year, but it's a whole new world to experience and embody it as I did this year.
A wise teacher once shared with me that crying is the exhalation of stale energy. When we cry we allow our intuition and energy to merge and guide us. My tears were making room for more honest, present emotions of joy from growth.
As I enjoyed the Rosh Hashanah service I was curious about what the shofar blast is calling to us.
In Maimonides, Hilkot Teshuvah, it begins with "Even though the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a scriptural decree, nonetheless it contains within it a hint, namely: wake you sleepers from your sleep, and you slumberer from your slumber, examine your deeds, return in repentance and remember your Creator, you who forget the truth in follies of time and waste a whole year in vain pursuits that neither profit nor save."
Of course, this does not only literally mean wake us up from our sleep. What else could it mean?
In the Talmud, it says the shofar blast is our cry to G-d to remember the sacrifices our ancestors made. Maimonides, however, says it's G-d's cry to us.
In a time where we are all pressed for attention and distractions, I think G-d's cry for us is an invitation for us to wake up, to explore our own selves, evaluate our actions and how we truly feel about them, why were doing them, etc. To celebrate our awareness and our growth and where we would like to develop as humans.
I believe our crying during Rosh Hashanah and G-d's cry to us through the shofar blasts, is a wake up call to "be the change we want to see in the world." As much as we are here to help the world of others, we are here to connect and improve upon the world inside of us. That world inside us is what we see externally.
May we all have a blessed new year full of inner peace and security, unending fulfillment, and the courage and confidence go within to explore our own uncharted waters, so that we can view the world with fresh new eyes and a positive perspective.
Shanah Tovah u'metukah to you and your family. Whether you are Jewish or not, may 5780 bring health, prosperity, abundance, peace, blessings, transformations, and redemptions.