A Shofar Kavannah

Below is a poetic meditation (Kavannah) for Tekiat Shofar. Rosh Hashanah is called Yom Hakeseh – literally, “The Day of Covering” – when we feel God’s protection, God’s embrace, God’s love, in the spirit of ahavat olam ahavtich – “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:2). I am hopeful that these words speak to this message.

My blessings to you and your families for a year of health, life and fulfillment.

From narrow straits to broad relief
Ram’s strength in bowed humility
Smooth and youthful and wrinkled and aged
Ever-blown, everywhere, ever distinct

Abraham chooses life
Rachel refuses comfort
Joshua shatters walls
Paratroopers liberate home

A psalm for Korach’s children,
Descendants forge anew.
Don’t blast, listen
Don’t hear, listen

Exhale the breath
God blew into Adam
Turn up the volume
On the soul’s inner voice

A plea, demand, cry.
A song, dance, prayer.
Silence.
A solo, a harmony.

A trumpet coronates God
A cymbal startles us — awake
A drum rallies — gather round
A flute sings of love

A curved trail – up down up
Teki’ah, Shevarim Teruah, Tekiah
Blasting success, wailing despair
Heralding rebirth, higher still

Creation, revelation, redemption
Ayeka? Hineni. Yitakah!
Where are you? Here I am.
The great Shofar!

Shattered vessels fixed
Good deeds supplant bad
Love overpowers hate
Light pushes out darkness

Sounds ascending, descending
Meeting in liminal space
Drawing earth to heaven, heaven to earth
Sealing the covenant

Teki’ah Gedolah

About the Author
Avi Weiss is the founding rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx, N.Y., and founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat rabbinical schools. He is a co-founder of the International Rabbinic Fellowship and longtime Jewish activist for Israel and human rights.
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