The moment just before the blowing of the Shofar is always a tense and exciting time. We somehow tap into a spiritual part of ourselves that eagerly waits for this moment every year. Maybe we close our eyes, standing in total silence. Maybe we reflect upon our lives – our relationships, the things we want to improve upon, our losses and our gains. It's a dramatic inhale before hearing our voices, our hopes and dreams exhale into the world through the sounding of the shofar. However, as we prepare for our inhale, we recite Psalm 47 seven times, and there are many mystical reasons why we do this. However, I want to focus on the way we refer to God in the Psalm: "For the Conductor." This is a rather odd way to refer to God. So, why was this word chosen? What does a conductor do?
A conductor leads his or her orchestra. A conductor guides the musicians to play their parts to perfection, and what's more, a conductor knows where each and every instrument is located – which one should play and which one should be still. Which should sound louder or faster or deeper, and which should sound softer, slower and lighter. Now, every musician can read the notes on the page, they’re all very talented, capable and well-trained. But only the conductor can elicit the truest effect of their instruments, culling the best from the musicians to play their parts to perfection. Thus, God is the Conductor of the universe. God knows where everything in His orchestra is located. God knows in which season to bring rain and in which season to bring sun. God knows the sounds and songs of all Creation – when the cricket should chirp and when the bird should sing. When the wolf should howl and when the donkey should bray. Everything in Creation creates a wonderous music, all based on the direction of the Conductor, Who guides them all in complete harmony. And God knows your song as well. God knows exactly where you are located in His orchestra, God knows when you should sing and how you should sing – how loud or soft, how fast or slow – God knows everything about your part, as it says, “Even before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Yirmiyahu 1:5). But do we know where we stand in His orchestra? Do we know the part we're supposed to play? Even if we think we know, like a musician reading a sheet of music, do we know how we can make our song sing to its fullest potential?
This year, during the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Conductor is tapping His baton on the lectern. He is raising His arms. After a long year, He has our attention, and we have His. We are anxiously inhaling, waiting with baited breath for the first wave of His hands. On Sunday, as we hear the one hundred blasts of the shofar, let us hear, let us feel our Conductor fervently motioning to us to help us better understand who we are, what our purpose is, and how we can play our part in His symphony of Creation to perfection.
Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tova!