How many of us go through the motions of life as if in a stupor, unthinking and oblivious to our true purpose in life?
And so, each year we usher in the New Year, Rosh Hashanna, with the shrill blast of the Shofar as if to say, “Wake up sleepy ones from your slumber.” On this holy day, anniversary of Hashem’s creation of Man, arise to the truth of your highest calling, coronating the Almighty as King of the universe through your observance of His commandments and statutes.
Recognize that Hashem your Creator provided you with instructions for life, the holy Torah, much the way a doctor provides prescriptions for the sick. If we follow the advice of doctors even when we don’t understand the manner in which medicines heal and even when they are bitter and painful, certainly we must follow Hashem’s prescriptions and perform His Mitzvos, for they are indeed the path to eternal life. The shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanna are the clarion call that trumpets Hashem’s sovereignty and exhort us to remain faithful to His will at all times.
This idea is immediately reinforced by Yom Kippur, the culmination of the ten days of repentance. Yom Kippur, in stark contrast to all other holidays, is a day of fasting and physical deprivation. We demonstrate our dedication to following Hashem’s commandments even when it involves discomfort. Furthermore, refraining from eating and drinking affords us the opportunity to focus exclusively on our spiritual nature, utilizing the “Voice of Yakov” in a day of prayer, contemplation and thanking Hashem for his myriad past kindnesses to us, even as we anticipate a bright and joyous future in His holy service.
May we all merit a meaningful Yom Kippur, one that will bring us to a deeper understanding and a greater commitment to Hashem’s Torah and Mitzvos. May Hashem grant you all a year of spiritual elevation filled with blessing prosperity and joy, Amen.